History Journal


In the last couple of decades, certain incidents or moments have become litmus tests for larger historical understandings. The arrival of Columbus to the New World is one such event. Both historians and the public at large have debated the meaning of Columbus’ voyages and his legacy. In this journal, please explain what you understand to be the actual accomplishments or failures of Columbus, then discuss the legacy of the explorer specifically tied to Columbus Day.

Does a man who never stepped on what would become the United States deserve a federal holiday? What do you think of the argument for changing the name and focus of the holiday from Columbus to “Indigenous Peoples Day”? Does changing the holiday dishonor the heritage of Italian-Americans, a group that has also faced discrimination? Or does changing the name serve to recognize and affirm the overlooked history and contributions of Native Americans?

To receive full credit for this assignment your post must:

1. Address the questions asked in the paragraph above in at least a 300-word essay and CITE all outside sources appropriately.

2. Identify one question that these sources have raised for you.