Christopher Columbus American History Essay

Today, Americans of Italian descent routinely encounter the slurs popularized in mass media, be it the folklore centered on organized crime or their depiction as an unlearned subset of the populace, wise to the ways of the street and not the halls of academia.Still, expressions of ethnic pride can be troublesome enough in a pluralistic society, particularly one in which Italian-Americans now occupy an enviable place in the political, economic and social firmament.

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(A large share of the monuments across the American South were erected decades after the war, in an effort to give more teeth to the Jim Crow laws that restricted the rights of black citizens.) You can preserve, protect and even defend history as you choose it in your own home or within the confines of a privately held space.

Americans, especially in the form of their government, have no intrinsic right to impose those views on one another when it comes to public spaces and officially backed activity.

Nowhere were things much worse for them in the early years of the 20th century than in the coal, gold and silver mines of Colorado, where my paternal grandfather was among those who did the dangerous work.

The missionary nun Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini would be staggered by a visit.

“The ensuing Age of Discovery, with its expansions of empires and exploitations of New World natural resources, was accompanied by the seizure and forced labor of human beings, starting with Native Americans.”Nabokov calls Columbus the “first transatlantic human trafficker—a sideline pursued by most New World conquistadors until, in the mid-seventeenth century, Spain officially opposed slavery.”It would be centuries more until the Civil War would end the practice in the US.

Alongside slavery, the ravages of genocide, disease, colonialism and the rapacious ends of empire stand as the starkest consequences of the voyages Columbus undertook starting in 1492.

Whatever hardships and cruelties were inflicted upon the natives was generally thought to be insignificant in comparison with the benefits of European science and religion.

Yet even his most ardent admirers acknowledge that Columbus was self-centered, ruthless, avaricious, and a racist.

They might not have understood each other’s dialects, but on arrival in the United States they became Italian-Americans.

Then as now, the descendants of Italian immigrants have more in common in the US than their forebears might have had across the ocean.


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