Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Columbus Day Reflection

The Volokh Conspiracy has a good reflection on celebrating Columbus Day that parallels your Amsco historical perspectives. Check it out. After reading the essay, come back here and write a comment explaining your position: Should Columbus Day be a holiday. Defend your answer (as always).

28 comments:

  1. I do think that it should be a holiday because it fueled the exploration of the New World and without him we may not be here.

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  2. I dont think we should have a holiday named Columbus Day. If every important person in history had a day devoted to them we would have a holiday every day. Yes, his discovery
    of the new world is very important, but not heroic. I think only heroic people should have a specific holiday dedicated to them.

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  3. Columbus was in it for the money. he was not the first to discover the Americas, in fact he arrived here by mistake. What he did was neither heroic or demonic. He should not have a holiday.

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  4. I agree with the author of the article. Columbus was neither heroic nor demonic. His actions, though important as they were, were not heroic or extremely exceptional, and therefore should not constitute a national holiday. Holidays should be reserved for very influential people in the history of our country, such as presidents.

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  5. Well, I still think the day should be celebrated but not as Columbus day, it would be much better if the name was Rediscovery of the New World day or something along those lines. I wouldn't consider Columbus as a hero either just for the fact that he wasn't really "hero" material, he didn't really discover the New World, technically the New World always existed and people lived in it. In conclusion this is too big of a deal, so much hype for something that is not really heroic in any way.

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  6. I think there should be a holiday for Christopher Columbus, but it shouldn't be a holiday that entails getting the day off of work or school. He made an incredibly important discovery that was certainly important to modern times, but he didn't do so on purpose and he caused an incredible amount of harm as a result. He made an important contribution to the world and deserves credit and recognition, but he also created many opportunities for conflict and shouldn't create an excuse for Americans to skip out on a day of work.

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  7. I think that we should celebrate Columbus Day. Columbus did infect many of the Indians with disease, but hey, they would die of something eventually. If Columbus didn't discover America,someone else would have and spread disease also. I dont think Columbus was a hero, but I do think we should celebrate what he did by finding America.

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  8. I do think we should celebrate Columbus Day. Even though he is thought of as evil for bring other Europeans to America and killing the Indians he still practically founded America only by accident. So for that he should have a day.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. I disagree with the author to a certain extent. The idea of celebrating a holiday honoring an evil person just wouldn't do it for me. The thing is that columbus did not do this to kill, and spread disease. He had no idea what the damage of him traveling to the new world would be. He did this to bring wealth to himself and his county. Some look down upon this behavior but, man is greedy and will always continue to be. I think we should celebrate columbus day not to remember who discovered the new world, but to celebrate the idea that the discovery of the americas made possible for us to be here in the U.S.A.

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  11. Although Columbus did make a huge "discovery", there should not be a holiday named after him. I am totally cool with a holiday celebrating the day that the New World was founded, but I am definitely not in favor of a day celebrating Columbus. He took others' ideas and ran with them and in reality he was credited with something that he wasn't the first to do.

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  12. I think that Colombus was an important guy in history, for sure. I just don't think that every person who did something significant should get their own day. Maybe it could be one of those random days that no one actually knows about, and people could go to each other and say "hey, did you know today is columbus day?" and the other person would respond, "really? i didn't know that. what an interesting factoid."

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  13. In my opinion, the article was absolutely correct. While Columbus did do the world a favor by discovering this continent, all he was trying to do was make a little money. I don't think what he did was that exceptional (someone would have made the discovery eventually.) Like Simona said-- not everyone that does something amazing can have their own day; holidays would lose all significance. Holidays should honor people who purposefully influenced our country, people working for the common good.

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  14. I agree with Volohk in that we should be consistent with how we make holidays. If Columbus has his own holiday, why don't other specific people who were influential in our history (maybe Washington Carver, John Muir, or Lewis and Clark) also have a day that honors them? Now that I think about it, it's not very fair that Columbus gets a whole day to himself while other important people don't have an official day to be honored, so I don't think that Columbus Day should be a holiday.

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  15. I think it is important to acknowledge Columbus for what he did. The "discovery" of America was obviously very important. He didn't go to America to say, "Well, I'm gonna spread the syphilis to the fine Indian women like you wouldn't believe,"
    or that "I want generations after I'm dead to question my motives for exploration." Yes, he did it for the money, but (and the article did acknowledge this, albeit briefly) it does require courage. I think that he deserves recognition and a holiday, though not necessarily one with as much hoopla as it has now. (I think that the author is also right in saying that people get more worked up about defending Columbus once he's been accused, cause I don't know why I feel so strongly about this.)
    We all say that we want people who deserve holidays more, or just as much, like presidents and civil rights activists to get recognition, but for the most part, a lot of them do. Then it just becomes a question of what or who deserves recognition and how much of it.
    (Also, what about Thanksgiving? Isn't that kind of like Columbus Day? In Canada, they have their Thanksgiving really close to Columbus Day...hmmm...)

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  16. I side with the article in the fact that holidays should not merely be a time to remember some important historical event or person, but to celebrate someone who exemplifies good citizenship and shows the values of the people celebrating the holiday, or some event that they believe moved society in the right direction. Looking at Columbus Day in this way shows that unless Americans as a people want to promote the reckless adventuring and thoughts of self-superiority to other races, then we should probably not be celebrating the holiday. From the historical perspective, Europe was expanding and exploring, so someone would have discovered the Americas anyway, so Columbus's achievement was not something that happened only because he was an outstanding person, and other people probably could have done a better job. If Columbus day were to be celebrated, I think a better historical importance would not be the discovery of a new world, but the start of a period of mass death to the Native Americans, and be treated similarly to the Holocaust or 9-11. Another criteria I have against having Columbus day as a holiday is not historical, but simply realistic: One more holiday means people spend more time celebrating and being happy, often with history, and they could be using that time to analyze the history and move in a path to make the world a better place from their reflections. So overall, no, Columbus Day should not be a holiday as it is now, celebrating the man who "discovered" the new world set the foundation for all of American Society.

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  17. I don't really mind the fact that we have a holiday celebrating the founding of our continent. It is obviusly a really big deal that has effected all of our lives, but I really don't think that it is important to name it Columbus Day. He did manage to come across the Atlantic, but the founding of America was not intentional. He didn't even realize that he had discovered a new continenet. If anything the holiday should be called Viking Day, or Scandinavian day, because they made it here first and with far more heroics than Columbus.

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  18. I don't think that Columbus day should be a celebrated holiday. I do appreciate the day off, but even if Columbus had not found America, some explorer eventually would have. So, I feel as if the founding of America is just like the founding of a major company that promotes human growth and should be acknowledged as an important event, but not a holiday.

    P.S. we should still have school off though

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  19. I believe we should celebrate Columbus Day because, well, I like getting out of school on that day. Also many people and things in this world get recognition they don’t deserve. Why did Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize? Was it because of something he has done? Also Columbus found America, even though he didn’t know it was a new world. The fact that he discovered it accidentally gives him enough credit to deserve a holiday. Many people have done great things or discovered great things and it was done on accident.

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  20. I don't really care if we celebrate the holiday. To think he is a hero for discovering the wrong thing is if people praised me for a 0 on one of Mr. Tuetings tests. Although the article is correct in that we shouldn't discourage the acknowlegement of his finding, because without him, we all might still be in Europe walking inour own shit. Either way im cool with getting out of school for a day.

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  21. It shouldn't be a holiday. Importance does not make for celebration. If it did, Germany would have Adolf Hitler Day, and the former Soviet republics would all have Joseph Stalin Day. Holidays are honors, not acknowledgments.

    And Columbus is far from a national hero. He doesn't represent American values. He never fought for us. He never saved us from the clutches of tyranny. He never helped make us free and equal. Granted, America or even its English colonies didn't exist at the time, but it's a pretty important qualification to be a national hero. He didn't directly help the English settle, either. He just discovered the place. We can't honor him with such an indirect (almost accidental) "accomplishment." And so Americans don't hold him in the same light as Venezuelans hold Bolivar or as many English people hold Churchill.

    To categorize him with say, MLK or George Washington, diminishes the accomplishments and honor our true heroes brought to the USA.

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  22. I don't believe that Columbus Day should be a holiday partly because of what the essay says (no he isn't really a hero, he was just an explorer following his dream) and i definitely don't believe that we should close banks and post offices for him.

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  23. I don't think that Columbus Day should be a holiday. He didn't do anything spectacular, he just found what he was looking for. I think that holidays should only be reserved for people who did something great and I wouldn't consider what Columbus did as great. But, then again, I like having school off, so I don't mind pointless holidays.

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  24. Why just Columbus? Why not Cortez or Ponce de Leon?

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  25. The viewpoint of the article is very convincing. Just because Columbus did something very important does not mean that he deserves to be honored for a holiday. Apart from just finding land, he is of little importance to American history.
    Yet, I like federal holidays and Columbus Day does not hurt anyone. So let it stay a holiday.

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  26. I do not think Columbus shold have his own holiday. Columbus was not a hero, not did he do anything heroic. His discovery was accidental; he was only in the deal for money and fame. However, I think there would be too much contreversy to eliminate the hiliday and it is not worth the hassle.

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  27. I dont think we should have a columbus day. He did discover the new world, but was not a hero, because he did it accidentally! So i think that his holiday shouldnt exsist!

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  28. I don't think we should observe Columbus Day because he didnt even know where he was. He died thinking he found the Indies when really he landed off the shore of North America. I think other explorers deserve their own holiday that actually knew what they were doing.

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