Historical Context of Writings

4 April 2015
A look at some writings in their historical contexts by Bernal Diaz, John Locke, Karl Marx/ Friedrich Engels, and Jules Verne.

Writers such as Bernal Diaz, John Locke, Karl Marx/ Friedrich Engels, and Jules Verne wrote about some of the most important themes in world history such as colonialism, absolutism and industrial capitalism. This paper examines how their particular historical context (the 16th century, 17th century, and 19th century) influenced their ideas and how the historical context has changed over time. While doing so, the writers focuses largely on a single work of each of the above-mentioned writers, i.e., “The Conquest of New Spain” by Bernal Diaz; “The Second Treatise of Government” by John Locke; “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels; and “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne.
“Bernal Diaz del Castillo was a Spanish conquistador, chronicler and historian who sailed to the Americas and fought many battles under different Spanish adventurers including Hernan Cortes, the conqueror of Mexico.

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As a reward for his services Diaz was made the governor of a Guatemalan town where he took up residence until he died. In order to repudiate an over glorified account of Cortes’ conquests written by his secretary Gomara (who had not even been to America), Diaz wrote The True History of the Conquest of New Spain when he was an old man of almost eighty. Although lacking a sophisticated literary style, the work is recognized as an important eyewitness account of the Spanish conquests in the Americas, and the subjugation of the native people by the Spanish colonists.”

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