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Christopher Columbus - Our Nations Noble Founder... Or Is He?

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Geoffrey Platt 10/8/01 USEM 55A Roxanne Davila Christopher Columbus: Our Nations Noble Founder...Or Is He? People today try very carefully to be politically correct in order to ensure the equality of all races and creeds. When examining and studying historical events, it is unavoidable but to look at the 15th century through the lenses of a 21st century thinker. Accordingly, many modern historians have begun to view Columbus more critically than historians of the past. These modern day historical analysts tend to judge Columbus, his work and behavior in terms of modern day society (in which he would be considered politically uncorrect) and neglect to appreciate the good that he did. Professional historians always keep in mind that Columbus created history over four hundred years ago, when societies had different standards and morals. One must take into consideration the time period and environment in which he lived, and his reasons and justifications for his actions. The 15th century was an era of change. Many events that occurred during this time profoundly effected European society and culture and, in fact, created a template for a totally new environment that would eventually change the course of history forever. ...read more.


(P.224) Columbus' writings, for the most part, were undoubtedly addressed to please Ferdinand and Isabella; however, upon analyzing his descriptions, it is clear that he had other motives, as well. He was an adventurer and explorer at heart and was not purely motivated by selfish means, as many believe, to earn quick riches and fame and to spread the word of Christianity. Columbus wrote in his log, "Both the Indians and Spaniards were much grieved that they did not understand one another, since they wanted to ask about our country and we wanted to learn about theirs."(P. 214) These voyages to find an alternative route to India, instead, led to the very first encounters with another people that had been unknown to the rest of the world. Columbus and his crewmen were curious to learn more about who they had 'discovered' and exactly where they had landed. I feel it is wrong for people to depict Columbus as a greedy individual whose sole purpose in his voyages was to retrieve as much gold and convert as many people to Christianity as he could. ...read more.


But in order to leave them happy, the Admiral ordered that everything should be paid for and gave them glass beads, hawk's bells, little brass bells and suchlike."(p. 171) How Columbus is portrayed in the texts thus far is mostly one-sided and therefore one can not form an educated opinion on Columbus' personality. However, I believe, Columbus acted in a manner in which he was accustomed. In accordance with accepted normalcies and behaviors of his time, people believed that the conqueror should reap the benefits of those he conquered. I often feel that people judge Columbus' figure without fully understanding the situation in which he lived. In my opinion, Columbus is a man that brought forth a great number of changes, which bettered the way of life for the people of his time, and of today. For, if it was not for his voyages and his discovery of the this New World, then great nations such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and many others may not have been founded. I wouldn't consider Columbus the sole discoverer of America but I would definitely not deny him the glory that he truly deserves. ...read more.

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