Prepare a research paper as part of this course. In it, they must make concise, critical and well-reasoned arguments FOR and AGAINST the following prompt:

“Spanish colonialism has left an indelible mark on Latin America and its people. Given the scale of the mortality associated with conquest and colonialism, and three centuries of human exploitation and natural resource extraction, Spain has an ethical obligation to pay substantive reparations to the nations of Latin America.”

Length: Your paper should be no less than 5,000 words, or around 10-11 pages, exclusive of end notes and bibliography. Generally, with 12 point font and one inch margins, a single spaced page is around 450 words.

Sources: At a minimum, your paper must be based on at least eight sources exclusive of assigned readings, at least three of which are primary sources. No more than one source should be drawn from the Internet unless it has been previously published in printed form, and encyclopedias and book reviews are not acceptable sources.

Citations: These must adhere to the Kate Turabian Manual for Writers, 8th edition. They must utilize endnotes with page numbers (unless drawn from the Internet), and the bibliography must be divided into primary and secondary sources. Papers will not be accepted unless they are in Word, single spaced with one inch margins and are properly cited and contain endnotes and a bibliography in the indicated format. In preparing your bibliography and endnotes, you may find this site helpful:

Assigned Readings:
Brown, Kendall. “Workers’ Health and Colonial Mercury Mining at Huancavelica, Peru,” in The Americas, Vol. 57, No. 4 (April, 2001): 467-496.
Martin, Cheryl and Mark Wasserman. Latin America and Its People. Vol. 1. New York: Pearson
Longman, 2012. ISBN: 13:978-0-205-52052-7
Naranjo, Pedro, “As They Had Been in Ancient Times.”
Tandeter, Enrique. “Forced and Free Labor in Late Colonial Potosí,” in Past and Present, Vol.
93, (1981): 98-136.
Stevens, Henry, Ed. The New Laws of the Indies. London: The Chiswick Press, 1893.
“Requerimiento” by Charles I of Spain (Primary Document Extract Posted on Moodle).
Robins, Nicholas A. “The Past as Future: The 1680 Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico.” Native
Insurgencies and the Genocidal Impulse in the Americas (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005), 69-74.
Robins, Nicholas A. “Atrocity as Metaphor: The Symbolic Language of Rebellion.” In Native
Insurgencies and the Genocidal Impulse in the Americas (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 2005), 142-152.
Ulloa, Antonio and Jorge Juan. Discourse and Political Reflections of the Kingdoms of Peru.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978. ISBN: 0-8061-1482-7
Wiarda, Howard and Margaret MacLeish Mott. “Conclusion.” In Politics and Social
Change in Latin America: Still a Distinct Tradition? Howard Wiarda and Margaret MacLeish Mott, Eds. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003. Chapter 16.

An essay/paper in the A range (A- to A+) is clearly written and logically organized, properly cited, makes an critical, analytical and/or interpretive argument that addresses the historical question posed, and uses specific historical examples and/or evidence from the class readings (and/or research) to support its claims and analyses. An A essay/paper not only describes what happened, but also explains why events happened and how they may have changed over time.

An essay/paper in the B range (B- to B+) is clearly written and logically organized, properly cited and it addresses the historical question posed; but it tends to frame less of an analytical argument and uses less specific historical examples and/or evidence to support its claims and arguments. These essays/papers tend to be more descriptive summaries and narratives, rather than arguments that explain historical events and issues.

An essay/paper in the C range (C- to C+) may have problems with the structure and logic of its presentation and poor citation; and/or it makes broad conclusions without providing specific historical examples and evidence to support its assertions. These essays/papers tend to demonstrate some comprehension of basic concepts, but no real critical engagement with specific historical events, questions or sources.

An essay/paper in the D range (D- to D+) has little or no historical content relevant to the specific question posed. These essays tend to be general statements with little specific connection or relevance to the course content.

An “F” on an essay/paper means that the students failed to do any recognizable work on the assignment; or violated rules concerning academic integrity.

Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.