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Perspectives on Christopher Columbus

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Paul Gray

on 30 August 2016

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Transcript of Perspectives on Christopher Columbus

United States
In the US, Christopher Columbus is typically viewed as a hero. A man by the name of Washington Irving wrote a biography about Columbus praising his virtues, and FDR even declared a holiday in his memory, October 12. Americans believe Columbus is responsible for the eventual creation of the United States, making him part of the U.S.'s national identity.
Native Americans
Columbus and his men mistreated the Natives greatly. They enslaved them and were often violent towards them, including women and children. The Natives probably saw Columbus as a monster and an oppressor of their people. The Culture and Society (CUL) of many of these tribes would be eliminated or changed forever by European culture.
Current Debate
Historians are still trying to weed through stories and writings of Columbus to find out what is fact and fiction.
Revisionists are highly critical of Columbus. They believe he was just in the right place at the right time, and if he didn't cross the Atlantic, somebody else would've at a later time. They believe he was little more than a good navigator and self-promoter who exploited an opportunity.

Some revisionists view him not as America's discoverer but rather its first conqueror
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Schlesinger is a historian who disagreed with many revisionists. He believed that Columbus' chief motivation was not his greed for gold or ambition for conquest but rather the challenge of the unknown.
Perspectives on Columbus
Columbus's voyages have had a lasting impact not only on the Americas but on the world. A permanent point of contact between Europeans and the first Americans was established. This is an example of Politics and Power and how Columbus spread European influence for time to come.

Christopher Columbus
Explorers claiming the Americas for Spain
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Conquistadors killing and taking over Natives
A news debate over Columbus and a holiday in his remembrance
A statue in remembrance of Christopher Columbus
Full transcript