Different opinions on Columbus
Throughout all of our years that we are taught about world history, we are led to believe that Columbus was one of the greatest explorers of all time. In my mind there is no question about whether Christopher Columbus discovered America; of course he did, its Columbus! However, this is a highly debated issue and through writings by authors Jeffery Hart and James W. Loewen we will investigate the true importance of Columbus.
In the essay written by Jeffrey Hart entitled, "Discovering Columbus", he argues strongly that, in fact, Columbus did discover America. He starts off by describing Columbus as "a genuine titan, a hero of history and of the human spirit." He goes on to say that, "In discovering a new part of the world, Columbus destroyed such finite certainties". By this he means that everyone thought the world was flat but by discovering this new land he "upset theologies". He describes the reasons for Columbus going on a voyage as "multiple" and "confused". Columbus wanted to cross the ocean to "prove his theories of navigation". Since Spain was always desperate for wealth and the land routes were controlled by the Turks, Columbus wanted "to find a nautical way to the riches of Asia" and in the process of finding riches he wanted "to convert the pagan nations" to Christianity. He wanted to seek out "the Earthly Paradise" otherwise known as "Eden; as foreseen in the book of Revelation." In doing all of these things he became "a hero of human consciousness." "Columbus helped to inaugurate an enormous westward European expansion, surely the greatest demographic movement in history". He was the one who started the westward movement and describes the "garbage can philosophers" that put him down as "sour enemies of human aspiration." "To denigrate Columbus is to denigrate what is worthy in human history and in us all".
Conversely, James W. Loewen, who did extensive research of high school history lessons to write his book Lies...
Cited: Hart, Jeffery. Discovering Columbus, National Review, 00280038, 10/15/90, Vol. 42,
Issue 20. Academic Search Premier. The Ivory Foxhole.
Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me. New York 1996
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