ForumsWEPRWas Europeans' treatment of Native Americans justified?

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mbbs112
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mbbs112
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Shepherd

I have been taking a course on US history and we were reading about Native Americans and the takeover of the Americas by Europeans. We were given verified sources from people involved in first contact with them such as Christopher Columbus, missionaries, and other sailors. One of the first things that Christopher Columbus noted about them was their generosity and how he could take advantage of that by gaining materials from them. The Europeans at this time justified it by calling them "savages" and referenced the sacrifices done by them. Thoughts?

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FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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I did watch it. Instead of formatting quotes like:
"quote"{source}
they just showed 'quotes' without sources right beside them.
Stephen K. Stein, The Sea in World History, 2017.
Edmund S. Morgan, Smithsonian Magazine, Oct 2009.
David Holmstrom, Christian Science Monitor, 9 Oct 1992.
"1492," Backstory Radio, 11 Oct 2013.

Those are all cited in the video. Since you seem to have it confused with something else, I'm going to give you the link again.

Uhm... then stop posting?
Ergo decedo?

The Life and Times of Columbus, Curtis International Portraits of Greatness. Page 56.
Authored by famed fiction writer Washington Irving. You understand the difference between history and fiction, right? I mean, you wouldn't read this to learn about Lincoln, would you?

Since there are so many records that say otherwise, name one.
It's fun to see the way this discussion is progressing.
Hahiha: *cites historical record of Columbus' misdeeds*
Ntech: That's all wrong. Columbus did no misdeeds.
Hahiha: The historical records say he did.
Ntech: Source that, 'cuz lots of historical records say he didn't.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Fishpreferred


Those are all cited in the video. Since you seem to have it confused with something else, I'm going to give you the link again.

I mean superscripted numbers relating to where a quote was found. There is NONE of that in the video.


Authored by famed fiction writer Washington Irving.

It does not have his name anywhere on the book.


It's fun to see the way this discussion is progressing.
Hahiha: *cites historical record of Columbus' misdeeds*
Ntech: That's all wrong. Columbus did no misdeeds.
Hahiha: The historical records say he did.
Ntech: Source that, 'cuz lots of historical records say he didn't.

On the contrary,
Hahiha: Cites a video on which quotes do not have superscripted references but instead uses a couple to cover it all.
Ntech: Childish.
Hahiha: links!
Ntech scratches his head.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@Ntech
Do you really not see how ridiculously strong your confirmation bias is? You have been given information that is directly based on primary source material studied by historians. The only thing you were able to show up with is a half-a-century-old school book with vulgarized information! And all you do is nagging about quoting formats and implying ridiculous conspiracies you've most likely picked up in some obscure internet forum?!

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Archduke

I mean superscripted numbers relating to where a quote was found. There is NONE of that in the video.
Yeah, because it's a VIDEO and they didn't quote anyone in it. Seriously, did you even bother watching any of it, or are you just assuming that you know what's there already?

It does not have his name anywhere on the book.
Oh, I beg your pardon I mistook that for The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, which you cited earlier. What, then, does page 56 of The Life and Times of Columbus have to say in support of your argument? Direct quotes only, please.
Ntech
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Ntech
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@Fishpreferred


Oh, I beg your pardon I mistook that for The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, which you cited earlier. What, then, does page 56 of The Life and Times of Columbus have to say in support of your argument? Direct quotes only, please.

I will quote:


It was on August 31, 1498, that Columbus arrived at Hispaniola to find open rebellion. The leader of the rebels was Francisco Roldan, and their center of operations the coast of Xaragua, a long peninsula stretching westward in the direction of Jamaica. Here, by mistake, the little fleet of Carvajal had come to anchor, and he was unable to prevent his crews -- among them many criminals -- from joining forces with the rebels. He had to come to terms with Roldan, and on August 23, 1500, a commissioner especially appointed by the King arrived to investigate the situation. This was Francisco de Bobadilla, who belonged to the ancient knightly order of Calatrava and was a faithful servant of the Crown. At once he took over the governor's palace and listened to Columbus's enemies, who were all to ready to testify against him. He threw Columbus and his brothers, Bartholomew and Diego, into chains and ordered them back to Spain. Colombus, with his experience of Spanish justice, had reason to fear the worst. When Alonso de Vallejo came to escort him to the ship, he asked: "Vallejo, where are you taking me?" To which Vallejo replied: "Sir, Your Lordship is going aboard ship." Once they were underway, Vallejo wanted to remove the Admiral's chains, but Columbus would not let him.

then, on page 61 it says:


Favorable winds speeded the Admiral's humiliating return. Before the end of October, he disembarked at Cadiz and, still in chains, went to wait in the monastery of Las Cuevas at Seville for some word from the Sovereigns. Siz weeks went bye before orders came to free Columbus and his brothers from their chains. They were to present themselves at the Alhambra at Granada, where the Court was in residence. Bobadilla had heeded the slander of his enemies and thrown his brothers and himself into prison. In any case, Columbus's encounter with the King and Queen was friendly. They promised to restore his privileges and to see to it that justice was done.

As you see, your claims are baseless.

Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Archduke

@Ntech - I was Googling that book and it looks like it was written in 1967. Our understanding of history--much like our understanding of science--changes and (hopefully!) improves over time. You could find evidence that rocks fall because they have an Earth telos. After all, Aristotle wrote this. And you could also correctly claim that (one some measure, at least) this was the most successful theory of physics ever, since it took like 2 millennia for it to be overturned by Galileo and, later, Newton.

My point here is that it's well-established that Columbus was a pretty horrific individual. This is the historical consensus (at least, as far as I know--I'm not a historian). I mean, think about the title of this thread: it's assumed in the title that Columbus did these things; the question is whether his actions were justified.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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As I have said before, the book dates from the 1970 while the Bobadilla report was rediscovered in 2005. The author apparently filled in the blanks with some storytelling, but luckily we now have the report that gives a better account of the findings.

Also, I don't see a single quote from a primary source in those passages, so according to your own logic (!) I am not bound to consider any of it as anything more than baseless claims.

nichodemus
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nichodemus
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I have often wondered to what extent we can hold people from the past liable for their actions based on modern accepted bounds of behaviour. More specifically, does what is acceptable behaviour change very drastically over the years? I think it's pretty clear cut that what Columbus did should not be acceptable even by 15th century standards, but it still brings up such questions to mind.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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As you see, your claims are baseless.
Really? What claims are those?

Evidently, you've completely forgotten what you were discussing and who you were discussing it with. You said to Hahiha:
"No. Columbus was wrongly imprisoned because Bobadilla was misinformed."
He requested evidence of this. As evidence, you gave a passage which, for the purposes of your claim, just boils down to "Bobadilla had heeded the testimonies of Columbus's enemies, which this author perceives as being slanderous". Well, what is the basis of this conclusion? What false accusations were being made? What was the motive behind them?
Ntech
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Ntech
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@nichodemus


I have often wondered to what extent we can hold people from the past liable for their actions based on modern accepted bounds of behaviour. More specifically, does what is acceptable behaviour change very drastically over the years? I think it's pretty clear cut that what Columbus did should not be acceptable even by 15th century standards, but it still brings up such questions to mind.

That is of no importance. If he did not do something, than he cannot be judged by it.


Really? What claims are those?

Your claims of the "deeds" of Christopher Columbus.

Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Archduke

@Ntech - these guys have explained to you several times what's going on. I came in yesterday to try to sum up the situation and motivate you to pursue something else. Here's the bottom line--if you're going to reject the standard, widely accepted historical view of Columbus and his deeds, then you're going to need to do independent research as a historical expert.

You've been relying on a 60-year-old book that (again, has been explained to you) was written before certain pieces of critical evidence were discovered. We also know there was a fair amount of myth-making when it came to Columbus. By insisting that Columbus did nothing, it's coming across as trollish.

nicho's question is an attempt to move this discussion along in a more productive correction. It's also a more interesting question and is more in line with the topic at hand.

More specifically, does what is acceptable behaviour change very drastically over the years?

I argue that, unless the facts change, morally correct actions aren't going to change. We see a change/shift in etiquette over time, but I wouldn't conflate standards of etiquette with standards of morality. I'm also an atheist who supports moral objectivism (I'm not sure anyone else here does), so there's that.

If pushed into a corner, I would hold firm that past acts were morally wrong--even if the agents involved didn't realise or think about these issues. Where I would bend a little is on the issue of moral responsibility. In other words, these individuals did terrible things, but they might have diminished moral responsibility.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Archduke

Your claims of the "deeds" of Christopher Columbus.
At the risk of repeating myself: What claims are those? I dare you to find any one of my claims of the "deeds" of Christopher Columbus.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

I was talking about @Hahiha's claims.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@nichodemus @Moegreche
Considering that there was an investigation following rumours of Columbus' misdeeds, and the fact he was imprisoned at all, suggests that moral standards haven't changed much. I think in general what is acceptable and what isn't (in the mind of the majority, should perhaps be added) hasn't changed dramatically throughout history as it is fundamentally based on social interaction and empathy, or so I believe. What I think might change is our view of other people and whether they are considered as equal and thus entitled to the same rights as oneself. That view can vary depending on culture, ideology or religion. Does that make any sense?

Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Archduke

@HahiHa

suggests that moral standards haven't changed much

My first thought was that this was right. After all, they did jail him so they must've recognised something awful.

But then again, they pardoned him and funded another expedition. This is a move that suggests to me that those in charge (the King and Queen, I guess?) felt that the potential benefit of those expeditions outweighed the immorality of them.

First, is my assessment of that situation correct? Did I miss something?
Second (and more importantly) is it safe to say that such a never would never happen in the developed world?

If it's 'yes' to both, then something is missing. But I don't know what. It could just be that the moral outrage for such a thing in the general population would make it unthinkable. Since widespread news wasn't available in the 15th century, maybe that's why the people in charge were okay pardoning him.

Or is it all about your second point--that our view of other people change? Don't get me wrong, I think this is absolutely true. I'm just wondering if that's the entirety of the story.

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