Columbus, The Indians And Progres

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Imagine little 3rd graders being told, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue; did I also mention that he brutally had many Indians killed because he's greedy and cruel?" The last part however seems to be classified more as "unmentionable." My reaction to the article, "Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress," is positive, mainly in part because Zinn points out the deadly "unmentionables." To begin, Zinn takes Columbus off his pedestal and breaks him down to the many things that seem to be left untold while learning about "great" Christopher Columbus in elementary school. Some would say that the children shouldn't learn about such violence at a young age, but I don't believe it is making their lives any better by not being up front with them. It will only cause confusion and distrust later. Zinn goes on to say that while Columbus, Cortes, Pizzaro, and the other leaders mentioned may be brutal beasts, they are all quite intelligent.

I agree with Zinn on this because these leaders would not have been so successful if they didn't steal, cheat, lie and kill. They seem to resemble politicians; and politicians in my opinion do have power and therefore have success. Concerning the victimized Indians, I am disappointed in the fact they didn't defend themselves, yet I am impressed at the fact that they stood by their morals. Personally, I would not have just let people waltz right in and take everything away from me without protesting. What happened to the Indians was inevitable. They were too passive; if not the Spanish, someone else would have become greedy and easily crush them. Overall, Howard Zinn does an excellent job of exposing the truth; perhaps if more doubtful people were to read it they'd begin to have doubts about a...