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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11 months ago

More and more the left is erasing our great history. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the way we as Americans evolved into the country we are now. The hate filled leftists feel that they are the only voice to be heard and are ruining our children in the meantime. It’s time for conservatives to get together and fight back.

Stephen Russell
11 months ago

I say We celebrate it anyway, screw the others, Ignore the other modes. Recognize Indians in issue.
BUT use Facts & History as Guide.
Those following Columbus IE Spanish conquistadors did MORE damage then Columbus did.
Cortez, Pizzaro, Coronando to local tribes in 1500s.
Cortez took down a whole Aztec nation.
Use day for honoring Exploration, The New, Open up Doors.
Project values into 2019+

Frank S.
11 months ago

Once again the repressive Left twists and distorts the historical truth for their own nefarious narrative. Sickening. Instead of understanding historical figures must be viewed through a historical lens of what was perceived as normal at the time, the Left feels compelled to bash and demean these figures using today’s standards. As an amateur historian, this is particularly galling to me. The Left is on a glide slope to one day in the not too distant future begin taking down statues of many, if not most, of the Founders. Why? Because then Washington’s and Jefferson’s (and other’s) beliefs and ideals… Read more »

11 months ago

Well, I grew up in a suburb of Columbus OH. So, I have no problem with celebrating Columbus Day. About 30 yrs ago, a new counselor came into our office. And her take on Columbus, was exactly the attitude and tone of the DC Council. As a conservative, I understood the educational system she grew up with University and K-12 (CA) was different than what I had in Ohio. This was one of my first clues about the total socialist/communist indoctrination that was going on all over the country. SURPRISE, I was right! A full two to three generations have… Read more »

michael failla
11 months ago

Zinn is an idiot. The best way to destroy people is to erase their history. george orwell

Carl Lewis
11 months ago

What next? The statue of Liberty? The Lincoln Memorial? Mount Vernon? Arlington’s Unknown Soldier? Wake Up America, your past is slowly, but surely being riddled, dismantled and destroyed. WHY, because it reflects our values, our beliefs. our heritage, and is the glue that binds ALL patriotic Americans together. Let’s not give up the fight to not only keep our Heritage, but protect it from the “Enemies of the State”.

11 months ago

Any city council can vote out whatever they want?

It is our history.
Very informative article.

So if your parents and upbringing were not as you may have wanted them to be…do your best to erase it all…? 😳

Pray for the USA and our President.
Speak loudly with our voices with our vote ! 🇺🇸🙏🇺🇸

11 months ago

Are they going to rename DC as District of Indigenous? I wonder how many “indigenous” people actually live in DC…

Pastor Paul Williams
11 months ago

Truly STUPID, another encroachment on the candid Historical realities of our Great Nation. Some people are so blinded with their own agendas. Truly nothing surprises me, since we have left GOD and PATRIOTIC ideals
in the dust, Truly A Very Sad Day…

Mike B.
11 months ago

One of the first tenants of Communism is to re-write a county’s history in it’s own perspective. We see this going on for decades now through our public education system. Ask your children and grand children what they are being taught about America’s founders and you will be left speechless at the replys you will get. Just look at the current line of Democratic Socialists contenders for the next presidential election. If we don’t take back control of our country’s education and political systems, I’m afraid we will lose America to Socialism/Communism.

11 months ago

Now this is not right at all,,,Who ever thought this up has too many lights out in his or hers light fixture,,,

colene nydell
11 months ago

Removing Columbus Day is the saddest thing. How can a handful of people decide that Christopher Columbus be removed from history by accusing him of things he did not do. History should not be changed. We are to learn from history.

M. Franklin
11 months ago

The ‘Left’, truly America’s enemy within.

John Vass
11 months ago

How stupid! I regard this as a deep state rebellion of our values.

11 months ago


11 months ago

Change the “D.C.” to District of CRIMINALS. That would reveal what kind of puke maggots inhabit that God forsaken crap hole.

11 months ago

“Behind the English invasion of North America,” Zinn wrote, “behind their massacre of Indians,…” I highly offended that Howard Zinn would refer to those fine Native Americans as “Indiana”, therefore I think any and all of his writings should be burned. OK, that’s being facetious (maybe) but isn’t that the way the left seems to be setting an example for others to follow? If one is offended, the offensive matter must be done away with. When those on the right (politically and mentally) side of politics develop their voice and “a set”, perhaps the left will realize what that the… Read more »

11 months ago

Very informative article!

Sad…to remove Columbus Day in our nations capital.

Voting for people that share your values at the local level is important as well.

City Council voted…so that’s it.

I wonder what their past history looks like 😳

11 months ago

Don’t these people realize they wouldn’t be living today if it wasn’t for Columbus? “Those who try to erase history are doomed to repeat the errors.” God help us !

Paul DAscenz
11 months ago

I’m amazed that American History, has become a taboo subject with the Radical Left. The Civil War. Is part of American History. It was a Negative part of history, none the less history.
The left, doesn’t have a problem teaching the younger generation about
Alternate lifestyles. I agree with taking down the Confederate Flags on public Buildings in the South. We should have these items in our Museums of American History.

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