Christopher Columbus         Daniel J.Boorstin, Who Has Served

1171 words - 5 pages

Christopher Columbus Daniel J.Boorstin, who has served as director of the Library of Congress, director of the National museum of American History, and senior historian of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Howard Zinn is currently an associate professor in the Department of Government at Boston University. Base on the background of both of these writers it is clear on how they feel about a very important piece of history. Although they both write about Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of America, their perspectives are very different on Columbus's motivation and interests, and their analysis of the effects on Indians are a lot different too. In Boorstin's essay "A History of Man's Search to Know his World and Himself", he described Columbus was a great adventurer, a kind of entrepreneurial visionary who took a huge risk on a big idea, placed his faith in the latest navigational technology, and also a man who was fearless in his quest to discover the new world of the wonderful things that it had to offer. This is made clear when boorstin states " With so little experience of the interior and such ambiguous clues to the Oriental character of the country, Columbus remained undaunted in his faith. His report revealed no doubt that he had reached 'the Indies.'"(Boorstin 2) Truly, Columbus was on a mission of exploration and novation. As Columbus sailed through all those unknown sea, he came across things that he had never seen before, things which gave him a sense of euphoria, "For he mainly enjoyed the sights and sounds and curiosities which he could witness from the coast." (Boorstin 1). So Boorstin reveal that those sense of bewilderment played an important role in Columbus's motivation of doing all the sailing.But when Howard Zinn writes about Columbus in his " Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress," a different point of view of Columbus emerged before us. According to Zinn, Columbus was a merchant's clerk from the Italian city of Genoa, part-time weaver, and expert sailor. In Zinn's essay, Columbus's true motivation for going out to the sea was not because he loved adventure or exploration, but because he was offered by the Queen to become financially prosperous and increase his status among society. According to Zinn, "In return for bringing back gold and spices, they promised Columbus 10 percent of the profits, governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with a new title: Admiral of the Ocean Sea."(Zinn 3) So Columbus was motivated by those insatiability and greed.On the other hand, Boorstin continue to point out that Columbus was a great leader and that he was very affable to the native people of Indies. By the time Columbus arrived to the new world, he was greeted by the local native who immediately warmed to his presence. He also found out that the native people were ingenious and care free with whatever they had, and Columbus wrote the Queen that "The...

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