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Tess Keating Blog Post for 8/30

The first chapter “Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress” of Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of The United States was quite eye opening. Similar to many people, many things I learned about American history at a young age were romanticized. Columbus was the good guy who discovered new land, we got a day off from school to celebrate him, and there was even a catchy phrase to remember the date of his journey (“Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen-hundred ninety-two”). We learned about the Pilgrims and Indians in Massachusetts and that they shared a meal together, and for that we celebrate Thanksgiving, while half the class dressed up as Pilgrims and the other half as Indians. While giving us catchy songs to sing and costumes covered in feathers, the education system failed to mention the horrors of what actually occurred. For a while now I have known that these events were always what they seemed, but still hadn’t been actually taught about any of it. To have fun celebrations of American History, children are taught in the incorrect, sugar coated version of it. Reading this chapter gave intense detail of what actually occurred when Columbus went on his journeys. 


Something I found interesting was that in many of Columbus’s journal entries he writes about the horrific things he did. Columbus wrote, “They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want… I took some of the natives by force…”(Zinn, 1-2). While he admits and discusses all of his wrongdoings, children and people of all ages are still shielded from this information and are given a false sense of what actually happened and who he actually was. This leads me to wonder what other parts of history the citizens of our country are being brainwashed to believe and if it will ever be uncovered.

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  1. Mia Slaunwhite Mia Slaunwhite

    I really liked how you mentioned Thanksgiving and how it is similar to the idea of Columbus Day in a sense. We’ve been taught that the first Thanksgiving was peaceful and a moment in American history. In the end, we’ve been taught wrong and our sense of history is off. We (the people of the United States) do not know any better than to celebrate these “heroes” and amazing “celebrations”.

  2. Sofia Adams Sofia Adams

    I liked how you mentioned Columbu’s journal entries. It is telling about who Columbus was as a person by how he writes about his actions in the America’s. Due to the white European exceptionalism at the time Columbus sees no moral wrongs (with his actions). In fact he proudly shares them with the King in Queen in hopes of more glory and wealth.

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