Opposing Views on Columbus' Character

Topics: Writing, Christopher Columbus, Columbus Day Pages: 2 (821 words) Published: November 28, 2012
It is quite clear that Columbus is a controversial figure in American history; many different views of the “Admiral of the Ocean” are presented to the American public. For starters Columbus Day is still viewed as a national holiday; on the other side many people are strongly rooted against celebrating the landing of Columbus on the Americas. Some people argue that there is no point to the holiday because Columbus did not even land in North America; others say that he is a crucial part of American History, and of course some say he did more harm than good. Academics have many varying views on the explorer as well; for example Zinn and Morrison, both men wrote on almost exactly the same topic and the end results were two completely different views. Both Zinn and Morrison’s views on Columbus are much more different than similar resulting in two very different articles. Each author depicts Columbus as a different figure entirely. Howard Zinn seems to portray Columbus as a power hungry, money seeking, and arrogant war monger: “The first man to sight land [For money]… Rodrigo never got it. Columbus Claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the reward (Zinn).” (Morrison does not acknowledge this) The reader can clearly feel a strong sense of anger from the author towards Columbus, for one thing this particular sentence was not crucial to the essay whatsoever, therefore the lack of necessity and the bluntness of the statement reveals a strong bias. This was only one example of how Zinn portrays Columbus as the next worse thing to the plague, he continues on by explaining, in immense detail, various unnecessary acts of violence by Columbus. Morrison on the other side of the spectrum presents Columbus more neutrally, writing on both Columbus’ good deeds and negative also. Morrison also delves into Columbus’ background to explain some of his shortcomings such as greed and the need for attention. However Morrison almost defends and sympathizes with Columbus...
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