Columbus, First Nations and Historical Interpretation


After reviewing our two texts, what are the differences between Howard Zinn’s version of Columbus and that of Carter et al? How can there be two different histories related to the same event?

Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, can be downloaded from the City of Winnipeg Library.

Please be clear, concise and respectful. The assessment criteria can be found at MrHenderson.ca.

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16 thoughts on “Columbus, First Nations and Historical Interpretation

  1. There are a few differences between Howard Zinn's writings and the textbook version. First of all the textbook's version tends to be a brief unbiased description of what Christopher Columbus did, not who he was. Howard Zinn on the other hand went into detail of what he personally thought of Christopher Columbus. Though the textbook's job is to be unbiased many times it may not be. Personally I believe that history is not 100% fact, that much of it is personal ideas which is the reason why history has so many different versions. Winston Churchill once said that "History is written by the victors." What he meant by this is that most of the time you don't hear about the victims or the losers. That is the main reason why there are different histories to the same event.

  2. The differences between the textbooks version and Howard Zinn's work are simple, the textbook covers many topics and the topics generally seem to be brief and "straight to the point". The textbook does not cover the feelings and characteristics of Columbus. Howard Zinn's work is more in depth and shows the side of the "losers" and how they dealt with the situations of this time. How can there be two different histories related to the same event? Simply one might read the textbook and understand it as Columbus being a loyal and good man but if one was to read Howard Zinn's work you would have a different point of view.

  3. Different histories of the same event usually occur as a result of different perspectives of the event that has come to pass. They say there is always two sides to a story and in our case a winning side and a losing side. No one wants to remember what they have lost and only flaunt what they have done. Same goes for our history. Howard Zinn's main focus in his book is to bring about the history that have been hidden behind the arrogance and the lies. Columbus's discovery of the new world is indeed worth to be written down in the books. But from the perspective of the natives who fell victim to his greed would believe he was depicted as a monster. But in reality we see that those with power write history while those without it become lost in their arrogance.

  4. The study of history is a critical component to society’s well-being such that a multitude of perspectives exist on validity, falsehood, and everything in between. Based on our study of Howard Zinn’s version of Columbus and that of Carter et al., one can see the obvious differences relating to an identical topic. In Howard Zinn’s text, we see a rather verbose analysis of Columbus, which is highly opinioned. However, Carter et al.’s version is quite brief and lacks a display of true character. Now, one should ask, “Why is this?” and “What has caused such distance and division to exist between two views of one history?” As a matter of fact, a wide range of reasons arise to answer such questions. In the writing of historical information and pertinent events, it is inevitable that authors possess different historical resources and educations. Consequently, this alongside personal discretion leads to different views on a subject matter. The writings of two individuals may in fact be utterly different, whereupon, events overlap and cross, or are omitted. To further differentiation, history’s favorite tool is perhaps “bias”. It is unavoidable in writing to favor one side, and most often the winning side is described and glorified. In turn, the oppressed and discriminated are neglected of worthwhile and sometimes crucial details. For this reason, some of the division of Columbus’s multiple histories may be accounted for. In addition, history is designed to meet a number of diverse purposes. If one examines the studied texts, it can be seen that Carter et al.’s version is a part of a much larger work intended to cover the entirety of America’s history. Howard Zinn’s version on the other hand was a text, solely focused on Columbus and his conquests and adventures. In Zinn’s doing much more elaboration was inserted with details not only on Columbus’s journeys, but described who he really was. On this note, different views of history fulfill different purposes, and subsequently, this exerts great influence on groups of people. In closing, the multiple views of history can be deemed as an overall characteristic of true historic writing. The different perspectives of authors serves to encompass a variety of details, which cannot be understood fully though one particular source. It is then in this fashion, whereby a greater expanse of knowledge is gained with varied reading and resources. The different views of Columbus from Howard Zinn and Carter et al. very much prove that the more information one can wield, the better he/she can comprehend the subject at hand.

  5. American HistoryDifferentiate Between Howard Zinn’s Version of Columbus and Carter et al. Allen LiuMr. Henderson's Grade 10 History Class The study of history is a critical component to society’s well-being such that a multitude of perspectives exist on validity, falsehood, and everything in between. Based on our study of Howard Zinn’s version of Columbus and that of Carter et al., one can see the obvious differences relating to an identical topic. In Howard Zinn’s text, we see a rather verbose analysis of Columbus, which is highly opinioned. However, Carter et al.’s version is quite brief and lacks a display of true character. Now, one should ask, “Why is this?” and “What has caused such distance and division to exist between two views of one history?” As a matter of fact, a wide range of reasons arise to answer such questions. In the writing of historical information and pertinent events, it is inevitable that authors possess different historical resources and educations. Consequently, this alongside personal discretion leads to different views on a subject matter. The writings of two individuals may in fact be utterly different, whereupon, events overlap and cross, or are omitted. To further differentiation, history’s favorite tool is perhaps “bias”. It is unavoidable in writing to favor one side, and most often the winning side is described and glorified. In turn, the oppressed and discriminated are neglected of worthwhile and sometimes crucial details. For this reason, some of the division of Columbus’s multiple histories may be accounted for. In addition, history is designed to meet a number of diverse purposes. If one examines the studied texts, it can be seen that Carter et al.’s version is a part of a much larger work intended to cover the entirety of America’s history. Howard Zinn’s version on the other hand was a text, solely focused on Columbus and his conquests and adventures. In Zinn’s doing much more elaboration was inserted with details not only on Columbus’s journeys, but described who he really was. On this note, different views of history fulfill different purposes, and subsequently, this exerts great influence on groups of people. In closing, the multiple views of history can be deemed as an overall characteristic of true historic writing. The different perspectives of authors serves to encompass a variety of details, which cannot be understood fully though one particular source. It is then in this fashion, whereby a greater expanse of knowledge is gained with varied reading and resources. The different views of Columbus from Howard Zinn and Carter et al. very much prove that the more information one can wield, the better he/she can comprehend the subject at hand.

  6. Howard Zinn's views on Columbus and the views on Columbus expressed in the textbook are very different.The textbook has a short, unbiased passage on Columbus. It mostly explains what Columbus' goals were and what he actually discovered. Howard Zinn on the contrary, went into detail about Columbus as a man and his personality. He tends to have an extremely biased view towards Columbus and writes his passage from the perspective of the people, or the "Indians",portraying Columbus as a bad man.In my opinion, there are two different histories on the same event for the reason that different people have different views and experiences. The history given in the textbook is from an overall perspective, maybe even from the perspective of the "winners". Zinn's passage on the other hand is from the perspective of the "losers" in history.

  7. In history there are always going to be more than one point of view. Comparing the textbook to Howard Zinn's version of Columbus there are some differences. In the textbook version it is a very brief description of what Columbus was set out to do and what he failed to achieve. In this description it really does not tell us anything about Columbus himself or his encounters. However in Howard Zinn's version it tells us very much about what Columbus and his encounters, it even has his journal entries. There is almost always more than one point of view in history. In tis case one point of view looked what Columbus was supposed to do and what he didn't do, the other looked at what he did and didn't do as well but also looked at how he treated the Native Americans. The two points of view in history is usually the "winners" and the losers"

  8. Marc TallmanThe textbooks version compared to Howard Zinn's story on Columbus are different in many ways. Howard Zinn's version is an in depth study of Columbus and the losers of that time. In the text book they may not have put the right facts about him. In the text book it is just a collaboration of facts and is not always true. They also only devoted a paragraph to Columbus. How can there be two different histories related to the same event? There can be two histories to one event because everybody see's history different. Howard Zinn wants to show the side of the story which not many people want to focus on, while the text book focuses on the side everyone wants to read about.

  9. The difference between Howard Zinn's version and the textbook is that Howard Zinn went into detail about his discoveries and how Christopher Colombus interacts with the "Indians" he was encountered with. The textbook gives a brief explaination of Christopher Colombus's journey.There can be two histories related to the same event because of many reasons. For example the story can be altered by the source it was attained from. Not only is the correct source important, people can be influenced by a favourinng gender or maturity with age.

  10. The textbook version of Columbus is different from Howard Zinns Version in a couple of ways. The textbook offers a brief paragraph about what Columbus DID, not who he was. The textbook also has a lot of topics to cover in American history, Columbus finding the Americas is notable but not significant enough to get lots of good information on it. However, Howard Zinn's version did go into Columbus's character, saying that he is greedy and doing only things for his own personal gain. His version was also on the "losers" point of view, which were the natives. How can there be two different histories related to the same event? It depends from the different points of view, usually there are two sides, the "Winners" and the "Losers". People mostly pay attention to the victors.Dalton Grieve

  11. Although Howard Zinn and the textbook are writing about the same topic; Christopher Columbus the views expressed are very different. The textbook has a very straight forward, factual, unbiased point of view regarding Christopher Columbus and his excursion. The textbook doesn’t go into much detail and only provides necessary facts, whereas Howard Zinn goes into much more detail. Winston Churchill wrote "History is written by the victors." Howard Zinn takes the opposite side and writes the side of the loser. History isn’t always factual, therefore; there can be different points of views regarding specific events.

  12. Only one thing can happen in history, but it can be retold in many ways. The story of Columbus is a perfect example of this. The textbook's description of Columbus is very brief. It tells us of how he was sent by Spain to find a trade route to Asia but found two continents instead. Howard Zinn's version tells us more about what Columbus thought about the natives and how he lied to Spain about the new continent to try to make them believe he found them riches. The textbook tells us about Columbus from the view of the "winners" while Zinn tells it to us from the "losers".

  13. There are many differences between Howard Zinn's version of Columbus and the version by Carter et al. First off, they each choose to describe is different things. Carter et al describe only what Columbus did. Howard Zinn, however,not only described what Columbus did, but also why he did it and his personality. Also, the version made by Carter et al only describe the positive things that Columbus did. Howard Zinn, however, doesn't hold anything back. He describes every detail, many of which are negative things about Columbus.There can be two different histories about one event, because there are two different authors. In this case Carter et al only describes what Columbus did in his perspective as the "winner". The winner's perspective generally states all of the positive things that he/she has done, because they want to be known as the good guy. The "losers" however usually don't share the same opinions. They include many of the items the winners left out which are usually negative things. This leaves us with two very different histories based on the same event.

  14. Everyone sees things differently, and because of this every account of history is different, whether they are about the same event or not, is different. For example, our textbook's version of Columbus' discovery of North America is very different from how Howard Zinn describes it. The text has no commentary on columbus' personality, while Howard Zinn, becaus of a previos bias, portrays him negatively. This results in everyones retelling of the same history to be different

  15. Sierra and Lexie said:There can be different views of Howard Zinn's article and the american history textbook version. The textbook's version only described what Columbus did and the descrition was unbiased. However, Howard Zinn's version was more descript of what Columbus both did and the reasons why he did it. Many writings of history are different because the authors weren't the people actually experiencing the events in history, which is why the textbook has a different take on Christopher Columbus than Howard Zinn.

  16. Posting for Morgan:Howard Zinn’s article and the textbook are both about Christopher Columbus, however they are written in very different waysIn Howard Zinn’s version of history, Christopher Columbus is an actual person, rather than just a moment in history. Zinn goes into detail about the kind of person that Christopher Columbus was, as opposed to only the important things he did. Zinn wrote about the encounters between the “Indians” and Columbus, making you feel more like you were there. It gives you a more lifelike take on things, when the textbook is just giving off information.The textbook is very unbiased (as unbiased as a piece of work can be) and doesn’t have a lot of life to it. The textbook gets straight to the point which is how I prefer a textbook to be, but if I were leisurely reading about Christopher Columbus I would much rather chose Howard Zinn’s article.

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