Should We Keep Columbus Day As A Federal Holiday? - History - Essay

972 words - 4 pages

Should We Keep Columbus Day as a Federal Holiday?
Columbus Day, held on the second Monday of October, honors Christopher Columbus,
an Italian-born explorer who discovered America on his voyage to find a sea route to Asia for
Spain (Columbus video). Columbus Day is one of only ten federal holidays, and is only one of
two named for a specific individual (Gavin, 2004). Many honor him as a hero for “discovering”
America, but really, is he the man we display him to be? Does he really deserve the honor of a
federal holiday? I believe that Columbus doesn’t deserve a Columbus Day, nor all the credit that
he receives for his discovery of America, for three main reasons: He didn’t really discover
America, he treated many with the uttermost cruelty that anyone could ever imagine, and he
doesn’t represent the moral values that we hold as a nation. In this essay, I will explain my
One of my first key reasons that Columbus Day should not be a federal holiday is that
Columbus didn’t really “discover” America. According to Gavin (2004), many American Indians
already resided in America before Columbus set foot on America, so does Columbus really have
the claim to discovering America if others discovered that land before him? Also, research shows
that Columbus may have not been the first European to discover America (Gavin, 2004), which
would eliminate the credit that Columbus would have for even being the first European to
discover America. True, Columbus’s voyage did trigger much movement from Europe to
America (Gavin, 2004), which formed the nation that we live in today, but also according to
Gavin (2004), the only reason Columbus’s voyage is so famed that “he was the first to be able to
take advantage of his trip by colonizing the new land for imperial gain.” Also, he had the king
and queen of Spain supporting his voyage and funding him, so really, with money and enough
bravery, anyone could have voyaged overseas to America. Without the monarchy’s help, could
Columbus have really discovered America?
Secondly, Columbus treated many American Indians who already lived in America with
cruelty, despite their warm welcome to him once he landed in the Bahamas. Quoted from
Columbus’s journal (1492), “Numbers of the people of the island straightway collected
together… ‘As I saw that they were very friendly to us…’”. But soon after he writes this, he
states, “...”I presented them with… many other trifles of small value.” Also, he writes, “... and
readily bartered for any article we saw fit to give them in return, even such as broken platters and
fragments of glass.” Here, you can clearly see that he is taking advantage of the natives, who
probably didn’t understand the value of their items. This is just one section of how Columbus
treated American Indians. Again stated in Columbus’s journal (1492), “It appears to me, t...

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