The pros and cons of Columbus Day


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Elliott Lassitter and John Wirt

The con for Columbus Day written by Elliot Lassitter.

While Columbus Day is not a widely celebrated holiday, the question of whether or not to celebrate it are definitely up for discussion. As known by many, Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of the New World by none other than Christopher Columbus himself. With as simple of a description as that, one would wonder why so much controversy arises from a legal American holiday. Unfortunately, many irksome doings lay deep under the surface.

The opposition towards Christopher Columbus did not commence in today’s society, or even the 21st century. Dating back around 200 years, the nonreligious had been adverse to this celebration. This was due to the impression that Columbus was attempting to spread Catholic influence. This criticism had quickly faded over time, and was replaced by a more pressing issue; the improper treatment towards indigenous people.

Religion was heavily forced upon the Native American tribes, and the Europeans’ means of dealing with their “obstacles” run much more inhumane. The New World was discovered within the same timeframe as when slave trade had begun to arise. Thousands of the Taino, or “Indians” as Columbus had referred to them, were shipped out to be traded internationally. This is where many of the peaceful natives were met with brutal deaths onboard, whether it be from disease or mistreatment from the handlers. Those left were forced to work in mines and plantations. The population of the Taino decreased by over two hundred thousand within sixty years.

The American Indian Movement, among other groups, have gone as far as to state that the continuous celebration of this holiday is oppressive towards Native Americans. It is claimed by these people that the enjoyment and simplicity of Columbus day is almost a mask or distraction to divert the people from the many indigenous lives lost after the discovery of the New World. This has started to cause a change, and many cities within America have taken on a remuneration for the controversial holiday. Areas within Texas and California began celebrating “Indigenous People’s Day” as a means of pointing the spotlight on the natives, rather than Columbus himself.

Despite the time that has passed, Columbus Day still remains a subject that most people would rather not think about. It is known by many as to what had happened after America’s discovery. Americans have the right to celebrate whatever they chose, but the history behind Columbus Day is not to be ignored.

The pro for Columbus Day written by John Wirt

Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. With three boats, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, he set out in search of a better trade route to India. After a few weeks’ sailing, he landed in the present day Bahamas. Though he didn’t “discover” America, he was the person to show the rest of the developed world that there was more far away lands.

Columbus day is a controversial holiday, but one that should be celebrated. If it wasn’t for Columbus, the motivation for exploration and expansion wouldn’t have become a priority because nobody knew about the Americas. Columbus set a precedent for exploration of the new world. Because of his voyages to America, other great explorers ventured across the Atlantic and in under one hundred years, settled the new world.

Columbus was from a middle class family. His father was a wool weaver, and cheese stand owner. He decided at an early age that this was not the life for him. He read books, studied the ocean, and made a name for himself. After his voyage to America, he became one of the most well known explorers of his time. He is an inspiration to many young people. He shows the effect of willpower and perseverance. This is also apparent when he was trying to get sponsorships for the trips. He was turned down from the Portuguese crown, Genoa crown, Venice crown, and English crown. He finally ended up getting a sponsorship with the Spanish crown, and was off to explore the world. Had he have given up, the world would be drastically different today.

Columbus inspired countless other explorers, both of his time and of modern time, to explore and make discoveries. He led the way for future colonists to settle the United States. Without Columbus, the age of exploration wouldn’t have been inspired in the way that it was, and has a vital place in American history.

Though it has its controversies, Columbus day should be celebrated. Without him, the modern world would not be the way it is today.