Political Theory

Liberty and Conquest in the Americas


The Spanish conquest of the Americas is one of the most important historical events of the modern world. In this colloquium we examined some of the philosophical and political ideas related to this conquest and critiqued the various arguments put forth either in favor of or opposed to the conquest.


Conference Readings

Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. Translated by Dennis Tedlock. New York City: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1985.

Bartolome de Las Casas. In Defense of the Indians (c. 1550). Translated by Stafford Poole. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1992.

Diaz, Bernal. The Conquest of New Spain. Translated by J. M. Cohen. New York City: Penguin Books, 1963.

Garcilaso de la Vega, El Inca. Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru, Part One (Lisbon, 1609). Translated by Harold V. Livermore. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966.

Juan Gines de Sepulveda. Apologia pro-libro de Iustis belli causis (Rome, 1550) [Apology for the Conquest]. Translated by Dario Fernandez-Morera. Unpublished: Unpublished, 2009.

Pope Alexander VI. “The Bull Inter Caetera.” Catholic Community Forum. http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0214a.htm (July 29, 2009).