Politics

DC Is Abolishing Columbus Day. Here’s the Truth About Columbus.

ColumbusEditor’s note: On Tuesday, the D.C. City Council approved a measure to abolish the celebration of Columbus Day, set to take place Oct. 14. The holiday will be replaced by Indigenous People’s Day. The council fast-tracked the legislation by calling an emergency session.

The District of Columbia was named after Christopher Columbus and bears numerous monuments and tributes to his legacy, including a large statue in front of Union Station, a famous train hub in the heart of the city.

And as Jarrett Stepman, author of the new book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past” wrote in 2017, Columbus isn’t the villain the left depicts him as. Here’s Stepman’s original article.

Is this the last time we can celebrate Columbus Day?

wave of cities have decided to remove the holiday from the calendar and replace it with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer credited with discovering America, and his legacy are under attack figuratively and, increasingly, literally.

Several Columbus monuments have been attacked and vandalized around the country. The towering Columbus statue at Columbus Circle in New York City now needs 24-hour guards after Mayor Bill de Blasio put it on the list of a commission to review “offensive” memorials.

And according to Far Left Watch, a watchdog organization, Antifa and other left-wing groups plan to deface and attack Columbus statues across the country on Columbus Day.

It is unfortunate to see what was once a uniting figure—who represented American courage, optimism, and even immigrants—is suddenly in the crosshairs for destruction. We owe it to Columbus and ourselves to be more respectful of the man who made the existence of our country possible.

Once Revered, Now Maligned

A few historians and activists began to attack Columbus’ legacy in the late 20th century. They concocted a new narrative of Columbus as a rapacious pillager and a genocidal maniac.

Far-left historian Howard Zinn, in particular, had a huge impact on changing the minds of a generation of Americans about the Columbus legacy. Zinn not only maligned Columbus, but attacked the larger migration from the Old World to the new that he ushered in.

It wasn’t just Columbus who was a monster, according to Zinn, it was the driving ethos of the civilization that ultimately developed in the wake of his discovery: the United States.

“Behind the English invasion of North America,” Zinn wrote, “behind their massacre of Indians, their deception, their brutality, was that special powerful drive born in civilizations based on private profit.”

The truth is that Columbus set out for the New World thinking he would spread Christianity to regions where it didn’t exist. While Columbus, and certainly his Spanish benefactors, had an interest in the goods and gold he could return from what they thought would be Asia, the explorer’s primary motivation was religious.

“This conviction that God destined him to be an instrument for spreading the faith was far more potent than the desire to win glory, wealth, and worldly honors,” wrote historian Samuel Eliot Morison over a half-century ago.

In fact, as contemporary historian Carol Delaney noted, even the money Columbus sought was primarily dedicated to religious purposes. Delaney said in an interview with the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus:

Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world. A lot of people at the time thought that the apocalypse was coming because of all the signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes, and so forth. And it was believed that before the end, Jerusalem had to be back in Christian hands so that Christ could return in judgment.

Columbus critics don’t just stop at accusing him of greed. One of the biggest allegations against him is that he waged a genocidal war and engaged in acts of cruelty against indigenous people in the Americas.

But historians like Delaney have debunked these claims.

Rather than cruel, Columbus was mostly benign in his interaction with native populations. While deprivations did occur, Columbus was quick to punish those under his command who committed unjust acts against local populations.

“Columbus strictly told the crew not to do things like maraud, or rape, and instead to treat the native people with respect,” Delaney said. “There are many examples in his writings where he gave instructions to this effect. Most of the time when injustices occurred, Columbus wasn’t even there. There were terrible diseases that got communicated to the natives, but he can’t be blamed for that.”

Columbus certainly wasn’t a man without flaws or attitudes that would be unacceptable today.

But even as a man of an earlier age in which violence and cruelty were often the norm between different cultures and people, Columbus did not engage in the savage acts that have been pinned on him.

How Americans Once Viewed Columbus

For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, most Americans were taught about Columbus’ discovery of the New World in school.

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … ” went a popular poem about the Italian explorer who flew under the Spanish flag. At one time, Americans marveled at what seemed like an unbelievably courageous voyage across unknown waters with the limited tools and maps of the 15th century.

It is difficult in the 21st century to imagine what Columbus faced as he crossed the Atlantic in search of what he thought was a route to Asia. The hardship and danger was immense. If things went awry, there would be nothing to save his little flotilla besides hope, prayer, and a little courage.

Most people, even in the 1490s, knew that the Earth was round. However, Columbus made a nevertheless history-altering discovery.

The world was a much bigger place than most had imagined, and though Columbus never personally realized the scope of his discovery, he opened up a new world that would one day become a forefront of human civilization.

This is the man and the history that earlier generations of Americans came to respect and admire.

Unfortunately, Zinn and others’ caricature of Columbus and American civilization has stuck and in an era in which radicals and activists search the country for problematic statues to destroy, Columbus is a prime target.

Ku Klux Klan Pushed Anti-Columbus Rhetoric

Much of the modern rhetoric about Columbus mirrors attacks lobbed at him in the 19th century by anti-Catholic and anti-Italian groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

In fact, Columbus Day became a nationally celebrated holiday following a mass lynching of Italians in New Orleans—the largest incident of lynching in American history.

In 1892—the 400th anniversary of the Columbus voyage—President Benjamin Harrison called for a national celebration of Columbus and his achievements. Americans patriotically celebrated Columbus and erected numerous statues in his honor as the country embraced him.

Though American appreciation of Columbus deepened, some groups weren’t pleased.

As the pro-Columbus website The Truth About Columbus points out, the Ku Klux Klan worked to stop Columbus Day celebrations, smash statues, and reverse his growing influence on American culture.

According to The Truth About Columbus, in the 1920s, the Klan “attempted to remove Columbus Day as a state holiday in Oregon,” burned a cross “to disturb a Columbus Day celebration in Pennsylvania,” and successfully “opposed the erection of a statue of Columbus in Richmond, Virginia, only to see the decision to reject the statue reversed.”

Attempts to quash Columbus failed, but they have re-emerged in our own time through the actions of far-left groups who want to see his legacy buried and diminished forever.

This would be a tragic loss for our generation and those of the future.

The bravery and boldness that Columbus displayed in his trek to America have been inherent in the American cultural DNA from the beginning.

We may never have the class, the taste, the sophistication of the Old World upper crust. But what we do have is a reverence for simple virtues of strength, boldness, and a willingness to push the envelope to secure for ourselves a better future than those who’ve come before.

We are a civilization that admires those who push the limits of the frontier, who don’t merely accept what is and want something more. The spirit that drove us west and in modernity, to the moon, is what we celebrate in men like Columbus.

President Ronald Reagan said it best in a Columbus Day tribute:

Columbus is justly admired as a brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the very notion of despair.

When we have lost these things, when we no longer have the capacity to celebrate men like Columbus, as imperfect as they sometimes were, we will have lost what has made us great, and distinct.

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Jarrett Stepman

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Helen J Carrier
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing the beginning of our great nation,AMERICA,. They can remove our statues, but they can’t remove our history from our lives that we can share with our children and others who come behind us. Our GOD is mightier than any effort from the left and the Klu Klux Klan or anyone else who tries to take away our history,or our AMERICA. Again, Thank You.

Mimi
1 year ago

The Bible states “ you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. Therefore, is it not true that those who hide the truth are seeking to put you in bondage? Makes sense doesn’t it?!!

Kevin
1 year ago

I have a teacher in the public high school (I am a night custodian at the school) that has posted in the class a “Wanted – DEAD or ALIVE” poster of Christopher Columbus
What are these under thirty year olds shoving down our children’s throats?

Dove
1 year ago

Scholastic News weekly reader for elementary school, October 7, 2019. “This year, New Mexico joined a growing number of states and cities that have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The holiday honors the indigenous, or native, people who were living in American long before Columbus arrived.” There is no mention that American Indians immigrated from Asia and displaced the more primitive people here or that proved with DNA tests of Cherokees and Mandans the Scandinavians really did get stuck in America long before Columbus and mixed with them just as their verbal history says. There’s a reason why some Cherokee tribes that were originally near the Great Lakes are taller, lighter and some had blue, green and hazel eyes when they were “discovered”. No mention that Columbus actually stopped on islands and returned to Spain. “This is a big deal to our people,” says Amara, who is Native American.” American Indians do receive their culture information from their families and their reservation leaders. We all have backgrounds that involve other cultures. Since when do we spit on America to learn or celebrate them? You can celebrate anything you want at home or in your own cultural community. There is no mention that American Indians had constant, violent wars with each other and most had slaves from raids on other Indians and later colonist. – “In 1492, Chrisopher Columbus set sail from Spain, a country in Europe. He was looking for a faster route to Asia. Instead, he landed on an island in what is now North America. But Columbus wasn’t the first to set foot on that continent. Millions of indigenous people had already been living there for more than 10,000 years.” (Before they immigrated from Asia and displaced those who were already here) “Columbus’s crew started what would become centuries of mistreatment of Native Americans. They enslaved or killed many Native people and stole their land.” Many elementary school kids think that Columbus came with the Pilgrams and he and his men personally murdered most of the Indians – along with other bizarre, factually wrong information. “Indigenous people continued to suffer as more European settlers arrived. After the United States became a country, the government repeatedly broke agreements with many tribes. Many Native Americans were forced to abandon their culture, language, and land.” it goes on and on “Nearly all U.S. public schools teach about Columbus. But not many students learn about individual Native American tribes.” As the magazine points out in an earlier section, “Today, more than 5 million Native Americans live in the U.S. They belong to nearly 600 tribes or nations, each with its own history and heritage. But some people mistakenly think of Native Americans as one group.” I can tell you as someone with one parent who was mostly Indian, Indians were extremely different from each other and to really study them you would have no time to teach reading, writing, and math that our kids are now – I think last I heard 57th in the world on. If someone wants to study their own culture in depth, they are free to do so. It is not something that schools have much time for in school. We are all one nation now, regardless of the past. What we need to do is respect American culture, values, our freedoms and what it is to be an American, still the best country in world. The magazine says, “We can’t change or erase history,” he says. “But with this holiday, kids will be able to celebrate indigenous peoples in a bigger way.” So – we can’t erase history, BUT we can get rid of Columbus, a big part of American and world history who was an extremely intelligent and brave man and proved to the world that the world was not flat, it was round and it contained other continents. He figured out from old maps and talking to sailors and others that the world was round as others were rediscovering at the time. If he had not discovered America, someone else would have soon after him. He was just the one to get the ships and money first through his friendship with the Queen of Spain. Magazine – “Like many native tribes, the Tesuque Pueblo holds traditional ceremonies. One of my favorites is the Blessing of the Fields. . . ” American Indians do learn all about their particular Indian culture on their reservations and any Indian or anyone else is free to go their to learn them. We really do not need our history destroyed and our schools taken over by the leftist socialist garbage to be taught the culture of others while wiping out our own. If you want to see a good experiment in socialism, visit an Indian Reservation. Poverty, welfare, alcoholism, often poor health care. Only ones doing better have casinos.

Yvonne Norton
1 year ago

Instead of letting the liberals have there way for every thing why not let the TRUE AMERICANS put it to a vote and let them make the desiccation if something in are history is to be removed or not . not someone who does not like are country in the first place.

Yvonne Norton
1 year ago

Why are they getting away with this the people who are doing this are the monsters taking are history away from us and getting away it ,they have no right to do this this is are COUNTRY & HISTERY leave it alone it does not belong to you if you don’t like it get out nothing keeping you hear ,we like it the way we built it .

Travs
1 year ago

Just out of curiosity, if a state abolishes Christopher Columbus Day and institutes Indigenous Peoples Day, do those states get the day off as a Federal Holiday even though the Federal Government has not declared Indigenous Peoples Day a National Holiday?

In my personal opinion, the Federal Government should drop Columbus Day as a holiday and pick up Friday after Thanksgiving in its place. Columbus did not discover America since there were people already here. He just so happened to be the first White man here I guess.

P

‘Nonymus
1 year ago

The only decision a city council should make concerning holidays is which ones qualify as paid holidays!

M.B.
1 year ago

How dare they!!!!!!!! “INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S” did not land on AMERICAS SHORES. In fact the American Indians were here first!!

Veronica
1 year ago

Let us not negate Columbus. He made some great accomplishments for his time. I also believe that we should dedicate a month to honoring and teaching Native American Culture. We do it for Womens History and Black History

I love this article. Thank you for the all this in
1 year ago

I love this article. Thank you for the all this information I’ll be sure to send it to all my friends. How sad!! To learn what is happening in our country.

Mary
1 year ago

We have spent trillions of dollar on the education of our young people, and today they are dumber than ever. Most of them have no clue to our history as a Nation nor do they want to know. These same dumb animals go to the polls and vote too… shameful. Teachers that fail to educate our children to be intelligent adults should
be fired, no more tenure.

Ed Curtis
1 year ago

What a travesty. We all know Columbus didn’t discover the Americas; SO WHAT! It is an accepted piece of folklore and there is no reason to change it. If one wants to get “picky” about it, no one ever discovered a continent, island, or country; they already existed with indigenous people(s). I am sick and tired of the factions that want to change everything that has made this country great and sets it apart from all others. Paraphrasing the president, “If you don’t like it the way it is, get the hell out!”

Mary Orchard
1 year ago

Unless Columbus crafted his own statues, people who deface the statues are hurting the artists who created the statues. Defacing someone else’s art is a way of denying the artist freedom of expression. The art should not be destroyed regardless of what the truth is about Columbus and his accomplishments.

John in Catonsville, Maryland
1 year ago

We Need The N.A.A.W.P. (white)

dino
1 year ago

If it smells like a liberal,and looks like a liberal and acts like a liberal it has to be a leftist idiot trying to destroy AMERICA.I think that bill deassyhole must be the leader and top idiot or at least a ranking member.

Rox
1 year ago

They have an emergency session to try to get rid of more of our history but they can’t actually get anything done that is good for America like fixing the border crisis, stopping the slave trade, stopping the drug cartels and dealers, education crises as we slip more and more behind other countries, including third world countries, getting rid of the pay-for-play corruption in pharmacy companies, . . . .

Nancy Ashley
1 year ago

It will always be Columbus Day for me. I believe in History the way it was taught to me. Yes it is time to fight back.

Sharon
1 year ago

Truth of Columbus shows a bad celebration and fake history in the history books. All needs to be truth changed. No holiday for him. He was from Spain, went to find spices, he did not come first to America. Not the America as united states. He found other things in what is now central America. Went back to Spain. He also wanted to prove the world wasn’t flat. His real story shared today is partially true as my own daughter in the 60’s learned the truth and has been wanting this holiday gone, since truth found out in her history class. Some say it is new political step, but it really isn’t, somebody finally bringing out the truth about Columbus.

Travs
1 year ago

Just out of curiosity, if a state does not recognize Columbus Day and the federal government does, does that state lose federal holiday status for that day?

I personally think the Federal Government should drop Columbus Day from the calendar but make Friday after Thanksgiving the replacement holiday.

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