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Should Columbus Day Be a National Holiday Essay

columbus day

Example #1

In April 1492, Spain received reports that the Portuguese succeeded in reaching the Indian Ocean, therefore Spanish monarchs authorized Christopher Columbus to sail to Asia and establish trade and start to convert natives to Christianity. The reasons that the monarchs let Columbus sail were mainly to search for spices and profits, spread Christianity, and to use some of their new technology like the caravel. In return, Columbus would receive one-tenth of all the profits, and governance of the new lands would be shared by the monarchs and by Columbus.

On October 11, 1492, Columbus and his crew arrived at an island in the Bahamas inhabited by the Arawak Indians. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, the Arawaks ran to greet them bringing food and gifts (World History Encycophydia, p.335-338). In another word, there were already people there before Columbus even set foot on America, so he wasn’t the first one to find America, and since he wasn’t the first one to find America, then there’s no such thing as a day called “Columbus Discovered America Day.”

Christopher Columbus went on the trip mainly for his own good; part of him was for doing it for his country, but most of him were for himself. Although it was said that he was sent to search of trade routes, spices, new technology, and gold, but deep inside, he wanted to gain fame and wealth throughout this experience. Why would I say this? The truth is that I did not; the historians said it.

It was said that “Columbus would receive one-tenth of all the profits, and governance of the new lands would be shared by the monarchs and by Columbus.” (World History Encycophydia, p334) My guess was that he wasn’t really interested in the trip when the monarchs first announced to him. After the rewards they said he’ll get, he changed his mind. He took the mission because of the fortune he’ll get in return. He was conceived in a way, still, he took the mission.

But Columbus didn’t really discover America. There were Indians in the Americas before he even arrived. When they arrived, the Indians even greeted them with food and celebrations. How can Columbus discover America that way? He should have known that he wasn’t the discoverer of this land with his first sight of the Indians there; the Indians were the ones who discovered America.

He did discover it for the Europeans and his country, but not the world. He didn’t found a piece of unknown land that later known to be the Americas, he just claimed he did; one shouldn’t take credits that don’t belong to them. The Indians there clearly showed that Columbus wasn’t the first one to “discover” America. And since he didn’t discover America, then “his” day shouldn’t be celebrated.

If we’re not going to celebrate “Columbus’ Discovery of America Day”, then we should celebrate the “Indian’s Discovery of America Day”. We could have parades like the ones on Thanksgiving. We could have people dress up as Indians and one as Columbus to act out the scene when Columbus “discovered” America. This could be both educational and fun for the kids. They’ll get to learn what Columbus day is really about.

Christopher Columbus was a hero to some people in some way, but sure I’m not one of those people. I have a very different view of him. What was said above was just part of it. It is kind of “insulting” to Columbus, but those are still my opinions of him. Besides, there’s a thing called Freedom of Speech here in America! I have the right to express my opinions and views.

 

Example #2

Every year, on the second Monday in October, the people in the United States celebrate a national holiday in memory of Christopher Columbus, the one who discovered the new continent. However, because Columbus brought disasters to the Native Americans, many people opposed the Columbus celebrations.

They began to think whether Columbus Day should be considered as a national holiday in the United States. Certainly, Columbus Day should not be a national holiday in the United States. First of all, it was very obvious that Columbus caused the European colonization in the Americas and the indigenous population to collapse.

His crime obscured his contribution. A criminal whose hands stained with blood should not be commemorated by people.

Though some of the consequences are not expected by Columbus, his expeditions marked a very bad beginning of the European explorations. On Columbus’s second voyage, his evil desires were completely exposed. The indigenous people finally understood Columbus’s purpose which was to seize treasures from their lands.

When Columbus’s fleet reached the island of Guadeloupe, they encountered the warlike Caribs and were attacked. The Spaniards finally defeated the Caribs and enslaved them. These slaves died out quickly because of European diseases. A few months later, the tragic story of the Caribs had happened repeatedly on the Arawaks of Hispaniola (Konstam, “Across the Ocean.”) Originally, those lands were possessed by these indigenous people.

If some intruders were discovered by them, it was absolutely reasonable for them to drive those intruders away. But as Columbus set his feet on the land of the Americas, the disasters were brought to the Native Americans.

Such a criminal person should not be acclaimed as a hero. Columbus was a villain who was too criminal to be commemorated. Another reason is that the U.S. Government should be respectful to the Native Americans who live in the United States. They are also U.S. citizens. Columbus was a hero from the European perspective but a villain from the Indians’ perspective.

If the government still recognizes Columbus Day as a national holiday, it is very disrespectful and insulting to both its citizens and a group of people. After Columbus’s discovery of the Americas, the native people were enslaved and forced to harvest gold in their homelands. Wars also broke out between the Spaniards and Indians. In a few years, over one hundred thousand Indians died (Solomon, “Columbus Day.”)

Thus, the Indians have a profound hatred of Columbus. As members of the government, the officials should view these historical events in perspective, and treat all the people equally. If the government still treats this controversial figure as a hero, it is the same as they agree with Columbus.

This is definitely insulting to the native people. It is too disrespectful to them to celebrate for Columbus Day (“Goodbye Columbus.”) Many people think that Columbus is great because of his discovery of the Americas. However, Columbus’s historical role was not irreplaceable. Christopher Columbus was just a normal one among the European explorers. If Christopher Columbus never existed in the world, another Columbus would also discover the new world eventually. He achieved fame because he lives in an appropriate time period.

Before his voyage, the Vikings had already been to the Northeastern of North America and built settlements there (“Leif Erikson.”) Therefore, Columbus was not the first European who discovered the Americas. Furthermore, Columbus did not realize that he discovered a new continent. Instead, Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian explorer, first realized that the land Columbus discovered was a new continent and not a part of Asia.

Thus, the new continent was named after Amerigo (“Christopher Columbus.”) Columbus was neither the first one who discovered the Americas nor the first one who realized the existence of a new continent. So he was just a normal explorer like the later conquistadors who traveled across the Atlantic to seize treasures. It is not necessary to commemorate such an explorer who did not really make many positive contributions.

Columbus, a man of evil desires, gave the Indians painful memories but achieved fame around the world. His voyage opened the prelude of the destruction of the Native Americans. Such a person does not deserve people’s commemoration. It is evil, disrespectful, and insulting to the Indians to celebrate for Columbus. Thus, the United States should not consider Columbus Day as a national holiday.

 

Example #3 – The Controversy of Columbus Day

The controversy of whether or not Christopher Columbus should continue to be acknowledged by a federal holiday proves that his legacy has not escaped the scrutiny of history. Arguments born of both sides of the controversy stem from issues such as genocide, racism, multiculturalism, geographical land rights, and the superiority of certain cultures over others. In The Christopher Columbus Controversy: Western Civilization vs. Primitivism, Michael Berliner, Ph.D. declares that recognition of Columbus Day is well-deserved, claiming that Western civilization is superior to all other cultures and Columbus personifies this truth.

On the contrary, Jack Weatherford’s Examining the Reputation of Christopher Columbus equates Columbus’ so-called discovery with brutal genocide and the destruction of ancient sophisticated civilizations. These articles demonstrate two extreme points of view in a manner that makes clear each authors’ goals, leading the reader to consider issues of author bias, motivation, and information validity.

Berliner’s article, which appears in Capitalism Magazine, makes his pro-Columbus stance clear with the subtitle of his article: “Western Civilization vs. Primitivism,” an obvious implication that primitivism is the only alternative to Western civilization and that all non-western cultures are primitive. He criticizes the “politically correct” for trying to “intimidate schools across the country into replacing Columbus Day celebrations with ‘ethnic diversity’ days” and claims that the actual target for attacks on Columbus Day is Western civilization (Berliner par. 2).

Berliner insists that Western civilization (a term he considers synonymous with the federal holiday) is the “objectively superior culture” (par. 5) and that any attempt to challenge this threatens to perpetuate the racism that (according to him) is created by ethnic identity and celebration of cultural diversity.

Weatherford presents the antithesis to Berliner’s argument. He begins by pointing out that Christopher Columbus never set foot on the North American continent, nor did he open it to European trade: “Scandinavian Vikings already had settlements here in the eleventh century, and British fisherman probably fished the shores of Canada for decades” (Weatherford par. 2).

Recognizing that apologists like Berliner are instead commemorating Columbus’ discovery as the great “cultural encounter,” he describes the heinous crimes against humanity that Columbus introduced to the new world. “Under [the apologist] interpretation,” Weatherford contends, “Columbus becomes a sensitive genius thinking beyond his time in the passionate pursuit of knowledge and understanding”(par. 3) when actually he prompted the first wave of North American genocide, slavery, and European-style warfare.

It is notable that Berliner’s article was written for the Ayn Rand Institute, an organization that founds its principles on the philosophy of objectivism and the notion of individualism. It was republished in Capitalism Magazine, an online publication that prides itself on defending individual rights. It is apparent that Berliner is speaking to his pro-capitalistic audience, as his flattering descriptions of Western civilization appear highly exaggerated.

Informed readers recognize that Berliner’s historical facts are grossly construed to support his extreme views of Western civilization. For example, he describes the inhabitants of what is now the United States as “wandering across the land, living from hand-to-mouth and from day-to-day” and as having “no written language, no division of labor, little agriculture and scant permanent settlement” (Berliner par. 4).

Berliner uses no historical data or facts to support these points, and for good reason: historical fact refutes these points. History texts describe the early agricultural techniques of the Native Americans as sophisticated, and although Nomadic tribes did exist, several permanent settlements arose throughout the centuries preceding Columbus’ arrival. Berliner does accredit “endless, bloody wars” to Native American civilizations, but again, his argument goes unsupported: the concept of full war or violent warfare was not introduced in the Americas until English and French conquest.

Columbus and Cortez used military violence to subdue a previously free people, and with it, launched a tradition of public violence and death. Berliner ignores this, as it contradicts his argument that Western civilization is the objectively superior culture, a saving grace to the “nasty” and “brutish” existence of civilizations prior to its domination.

Weatherford, an anthropologist at Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minnesota, wrote his article for the Baltimore Evening Sun. His target audience is both the American public, whom he accuses as “embroidering many legends around Columbus” (par. 4) and the academic community. Weatherford’s arguments focus on popular folklore that has been embellished to the point where it wipes out historical truth almost entirely.

While Westerners remember Columbus as a pioneer for the integration of Western virtues and values into “underdeveloped” American Indian communities, academics and the ancestors of Columbus’ victims recall the horror and tragedy that he brought to the New World. Weatherford recalls the Taino people who became virtually extinct after Columbus captured them as slaves, hunting them for sport and profit, “beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs” (par. 7).

While Berliner makes sweeping generalizations of the Western encroachment of North and South America with statements like “whatever the problems it brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous, undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today’s Indians would be infinitely poorer or not even alive” (par. 4), Weatherford uses specific instances of torture, destruction, and terror to make his stance clear.

By using specific facts, Weatherford’s information can be easily digested as valid, although his word usage suggests a clear bias while Berliner merely appears to be making a “yay, America!” rally cry. Berliner clearly attempts to affirm the hidden American attitude that “West is Best” while Weatherford presents his audience with a contrasting view from the other end of the spectrum. By examining the contrast between these viewpoints, including author bias and information validity, a reader is more efficiently equipped to form his or her own conclusion of the Columbus Day Controversy.

 

Example #4 – The Argumentation Against Columbus Day Celebration

In recent years, a topic of much controversy has been the circumstances of our own American colonization. The mistreatment, capture, and killing of Native Americans during the Columbian Exchange have turned the perspective of many from an event of major importance to an event of a major disaster. The Columbus Day holiday itself isn’t even recognized by some states anymore. Columbus certainly wasn’t a hero and should be viewed poorly for his part in the genocide of the Native American people. However, the holiday must still be celebrated, as the Columbian Exchange itself was an essential piece of our history.

Columbus Day should be celebrated purely because of the impact it had on our lives and the modern world. According to Crosby’s “The Columbian Exchange”, the continental drift that split the Old and New World’s apart was reversed by the exchange of plants, animals, etc. that were once divided. Without it, Europe’s crops like wheat would not have made it to America, and America’s crops like maize would not be seen in Europe. This exchange is one of the most crucial events in American and European history, and to ignore it would be a disgrace to our own country’s story.

The main argument against the holiday is that the consequences of the Exchange with Native Americans are too awful to be in a celebration. This argument is wrong because of two points, the first one being our history is simply full of bloodshed. Schweikart and Allen’s “A Patriot’s History” states “the number [of Native Americans dead] is closer to 800,000”. 800,000 is a horrifying number, but it’s minuscule in comparison to other parts of American history.

Over 60 million people in the world died as a result of WWII, but no one is saying we should ignore the war or not be proud of our efforts. Columbus wasn’t a great guy, but the holiday isn’t about him. It’s about what he started for the world.

The second point against the Native American argument is that the consequences of the Columbian Exchange were inevitable with globalization anyway. Crosby’s “Columbian Exchange” states “The history of the United States begins… with epidemics of unidentified disease”. The death of the Native Americans due to disease was uncontrollable and outweighed any other fatality in the Exchange. Connecting Europeans to America was a necessary move for us, so the Native Americans would have eventually suffered the diseases they did anyway. The consequences were inevitable; why should the holiday be ignored?

Due to its impact on America and the world as a whole, Columbus Day should remain a celebrated holiday, but Columbus himself shouldn’t remain a celebrated man. Our heritage is what’s being celebrated on the day, not anything else. The ends should be celebrated in our advancements as a country, not the means. Of course, Columbus and his fellow colonists didn’t do great things. They were greedy and manipulative to get what they wanted. But, the results of his voyage are of too much importance to be not celebrated, let alone ignored. Let us cherish the holiday, and look down upon the man.

 

Example #5

Columbus Day is a national holiday that is celebrated all over the United States by several people, but should we even have this holiday? Should Columbus Day be abolished as a National Holiday? When you’re celebrating Columbus Day, do you know what you’re really celebrating? The people that celebrate Columbus Day think that Christopher Columbus was the founder of America.

Is this really true, did Christopher Columbus really discover America? If you thought Christopher Columbus discovered America, you were wrong! He did not discover America! Since Christopher Columbus did not discover America and achieved various terrible things, we should eliminate Columbus Day as a National Holiday! Celebrating Columbus Day would be like celebrating The Holocaust.

We shouldn’t celebrate this horrible event! We shouldn’t celebrate Columbus Day since he wasn’t the first person to discover America, he massacred and enslaved Native Americans, and also took advantage of people. Christopher Columbus did all of this and lots of other effects on innocent individuals. Since Christopher Columbus did awful things on inoffensive people, should we remember him?

First of all, Christopher Columbus was credited and rewarded for being the first person to ascertain America. Columbus was recognized as the discoverer of America, even though he didn’t discover America. Is this fair, should Christopher Columbus be remembered for a happening that he didn’t complete? Christopher Columbus arrived in America when he was on his voyage exploring the unknown seas. However, for him to go on his trip he had Queen Isabella fund him.

It took Christopher Columbus seven years to convince Queen Isabella into funding his journey. Columbus went on a journey and when he got to America the Vikings and Native Americans had already been there, before him. Since the Vikings and Native Americans

were already there, he did not discover America. Therefore, why should we have a National Holiday for something that Columbus didn’t accomplish? Columbus Day should be excluded as a National Holiday.

Furthermore, did you know that Christopher Columbus was a very greedy and terrible person that massacred and enslaved innocent Native Americans? Yes, that’s correct; Christopher Columbus murdered a lot of Native Americans.

Not only did he murder a lot of Native Americans but he would also made them slaves. From 1494 to 1508 there were over 3 million people that had died from war, the mines, and of course the most important slavery. Should Columbus Day really be a nationwide holiday, even though numerous amounts of people died because of him? Columbus Day shouldn’t be a holiday.

Lastly, Christopher Columbus took advantage of Native Americans in many different ways. Columbus would take gold away from the Native Americans and give them beads. Christopher Columbus would tell the Native Americans if they didn’t feed him and his men he would take the moon away and cause a lunar eclipse.

Christopher Columbus was a very malicious man and does not deserve to have his own National Holiday. In conclusion, after all the things that Christopher Columbus has done, do you think Columbus Day should be abolished as a National Holiday? Yes! Columbus Day should be eliminated as a National Holiday. Christopher Columbus has no right to have a National Holiday. Christopher Columbus did not discover America, he murdered and enslaved countless Native

Americans and he also took advantage of people. Christopher Columbus isn’t a hero and Columbus Day should be abolished as a National Holiday!

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