1992| The Legacy of Conquest of the Americas: Greed, Violence and the debate about Natural Rights

Christopher Columbus

Ideas Matter 1992

The Legacy of Conquest of the Americas: 
Greed, Violence and the debate about Natural Rights


A lecture series reflecting on the 500th anniversary of the
arrival of Columbus in the new world and its consequences.

From Columbus to Lincoln: Reflections on Slavery and Natural Rights

Bill Uzgalis, OSU Philosophy

Dr. Bill Uzgalis


The five lectures in this series began with Bill Uzgalis' account of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the movement against this trade spawned by the conquest of the Americas.   Uzgalis focused his attention on an argument which points out the similarity between absolute monarchs and slave owners -- both violate the rights of those over whom they have power -- to condemn both forms of tyranny as illegitimate. The argument shows up first in John Locke, then Thomas Jefferson, and finally Abraham Lincoln.  


Courtney Campbell

Dirt, Greed and Blood: Just War and the Colonization of the New World

Courtney Campbell, OSU Philosophy

Courtney Campbell of the OSU Philosophy Department explained the origins of just war theory in connection with the conquest.

Click here to read a transcript of Courtney's talk.

God's Angry Man: Bartoleme de las Casas, Champion of the American Indians

Benjamin Keen, Department of History, University of Northern Illinois

Benjamin Keen


Benjamin Keen, a noted Latin American historian from the University of Northern Illinois and our first distinguished visitor, gave a lecture about Bartoleme de las Casas, the great sixteenth century defender of the native peoples of the Americas and his relation to the thought of Thomas Moore. Although that talk was given from notes and is unavailable, Professor Keen has supplied us with another published paper which ranges over much the same territory.


Click here to read Keen's paper entitled 'The Legacy of Bartolomé de Las Casas.'

Manuel PachecoSo Far from God, So Close to the United States:
Racism, Rights, and Alienation in Contemporary Chicano Culture

Manuel Pacheco, OSU Philosophy

Manuel Pacheco gave a talk about the legacy of the conquest for contemporary Chicano culture. Pacheco gave a brief history of the relations between the United State and Mexico and other countries in Latin America and then read a chapter from his autobiography to illustrate the uneasy position in which peoples of mixed cultures find themselves.

Conquistadors and Puritans Defining a New World: Two Cultures, One Civilization

Glen Dealy, OSU Political Science

Glen Dealy


Glen Dealy, of the OSU Political Science Department, ended the series by illuminating the similarities and differences between the cultures of North and South America by comparing conquistadors with Puritans. He noted that while the two cultures are quite different, they represent two different expressions of something very different from the culture of Europe -- a distinctly new world culture.

Locke and Lincoln