Democratic characteristics within English colonies
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Throughout history, Christopher Columbus has been one of the most controversial historical figures. There have been numerous debates within historians on whether Columbus was a villain or a hero. Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who had failed successfully in his goals of reaching India. He wasn’t able to find the route to India however; he did find a new land which was the land of the Americas. For example; Gregory Marino states his opinion on the views of Christopher Columbus. Throughout his essay he exemplifies his points stating various sources which all explain the atrocities that Christopher Columbus did.
However, Warren H. Carroll has an opinion that differs greatly to Gregory Marino. This historian has the belief that Christopher Columbus should be honored for numerous reasons. Both historians present their opinions in various ways towards Christopher Columbus In Gregory Marino’s essay, Columbus’s Genocide, it is evident that his opinion of Christopher Columbus is negative. He describes as the encounter between Columbus and the Natives as a clash of cultures. As stated, Columbus arrived in the Americas and praised the Natives for their generosity and handsome features. Gregory Marino restates quotes from Columbus’s journal stating that soon after Columbus also wrote “They would make fine servants.
With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” According to Gregory this clearly exhibited the fact that Columbus had no other interests than using the generosity and naïve qualities that the Natives exhibited for their own use. In Columbus’s writings gold was frequent word that appeared. This demonstrated his true desires and selfishness. Another point made by this essay is the origins of slavery and racism which Christopher Columbus had contributed greatly. He quotes Jack Weatherford, “The United States honors only two men with federal holidays bearing their names. In January we commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., who struggled to lift the blinders of racial prejudice and to cut the remaining bonds of slavery in America. In October, we honor Christopher Columbus, who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history. (qtd. in “Bands March On”)
The Natives were forced to go back to Europe and work long hours for the Europeans. They were used as slaves and this commenced the beginning of a new era of slavery and racism. The Native Americans had their resources stolen from and had to be forced into a religion. They had to give up their ways of living and completely get rid of their previous beliefs in order to fulfill the selfish dreams of the Europeans. Throughout this essay, the author makes it evident that he truly believes that Christopher Columbus was rewarded for one of the greatest genocides. Additionally, he believes that numerous people see only the heroic qualities of Columbus and often time they will omit the negative qualities that he possessed. Furthermore, his theories conclude with the statement that the new conception of Columbus should be brought upon people more often. Additionally, he states that this side of Columbus should be taught in schools and that the Indians should not be left out of our accounts in history.
Christopher Columbus’s heroic qualities are discussed throughout Warren H. Carroll’s essay, Honoring Christopher Columbus. Firstly, he states that despite popular belief Columbus in fact did discover America. He proves his point by defining the word ‘discovery’ which is “when an individual or a nation finds something or someone or some people or some places of special importance, not previously known to them.” Therefore, he states that Columbus in fact did discover America and was able to promote the idea of benefiting from this new found land. He continues with the statement that if Columbus had not discovered America, he would have to turn back before reaching his goal or he and every other man on the ship would have died.
The author states that Christopher Columbus was bold and courageous for leaving his life on the line to make such wondrous discoveries. Furthermore, his discovery would bring the Catholic Faith in which he was completely devoted, to the people of the land. According to the author, Christopher Columbus had a main goal which was of converting the Natives to Christianity. Furthermore, despite the fact that Columbus was a flawed hero he had aided both the Europeans and the Native Americans in numerous ways. “An interracial culture developed in much of Latin America, notably in Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Human sacrifice and cannibalism were ended, and the Indians were almost all converted to Christianity.
Although, Indians were long held in a state of virtual serfdom and some were forced to work against their will for long periods of time, none were actually enslaved after the first colonial generation. Despite popular beliefs, the Spanish law never recognized Indian slavery. The Church had claimed that the “Indians have souls equal before God to the souls of white men, and rights equal before the law to the rights of any Spaniard.” Furthermore, Columbus was a hero who had flaws which are considered offensive to today’s culture.
However, Warren H. Carroll believes that despite these flaws he in fact was a hero and deserves the praise he receives. He achieved what was believed to be unachievable and was able to bring together two very different cultures. Lastly, he believes that a hero doesn’t need to be perfect in order to be one given the fallen nature of the man. Christopher Columbus was a true heroic figure in the eyes of Warren H. Carroll.
The controversy of Christopher Columbus being a hero or villain will continue to raise numerous discussions. Numerous historians will always have various different theories explaining the truth behind Christopher Columbus and his unplanned voyage to the Americas. Gregory Marino made his opinion clear in his essay. He viewed Christopher Columbus negatively. Furthermore, he stated that what Christopher Columbus did was in fact a genocide against the Native Americans. Columbus forced them to work back in Europe for long hours and this was the one of the origins of racism and slavery. Lastly, he concludes stating that students should be more aware of the negative sides of Christopher Columbus rather than having them blindly praise him for his injustice ways against the Native Americans.
However, Warren H. Carroll has different views and he expresses them through his essay as well. He believes that Christopher Columbus did truly discover America. Additionally, he also states that Columbus was able to bring two different cultures together through his discovery. He includes that Columbus was a man that followed Christianity vigorously and was extremely devoted. Columbus’s main plan was to have the Native Americans follow Christianity and to educate them further on his religion. Ultimately, he states that despite Columbus’s flaws he truly was a hero in countless ways.