Issue #26 in 2020 year, 7-30

Thomas More and the New World

N. Ivanov

The article analyses the views of the outstanding English humanist Thomas More (1478-1535) on the problems of British colonization of the New World. It is based on the famous work of the philosopher «Utopia», published in 1516. Despite the absence of the exact location of the fictional island, its geographical coordinates are indisputable – it was located in the New World. Moreover, many facts from this work indicate More's excellent knowledge of the diaries and memoirs of C. Columbus, A. Vespucci, P. Martyr. The author enters into a dispute with a number of researchers over the issue of the humanist content of «Utopia» and divides the book of the British thinker into two parts conflicting with each other. The first of them contains the criticism of the established order in England and provides a constructive counterweight in the form of the «model society», where there is no private property, dreams of fair state system are realized. The second part is devoted to the relationship of utopians (colonists) with the local population. And here Thomas More acts as an heir to the principles of the Roman Empire («terra nullius», «vacuum domicilium»), and the protagonist of the imperialist expansion, colonial conquests, and the subjugation of the natives.

Keywords:
Thomas More, New World, America, colonization, Empire, Utopia.
References

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