View Poll Results: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

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  • He should be judged strictly by today's standards and mores.

    6 9.84%
  • Somewhere in the middle. (Please elaborate)

    9 14.75%
  • He should be judged by the standards and more of the time in which he lived.

    37 60.66%
  • Other

    9 14.75%
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Thread: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    This presumes current thought is indeed correct thought. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe 200 years from now people will look back and declare us idiots.

    Generic comment, not Columbus-specific.
    It's perhaps, at best, better thought. But no. There's no certainty involved in this other than the awareness that each generation sees the past through a different lens and acts accordingly. There's no guarantees of anything. Historians are very much appreciative of this. You can see it in minute changes in how the public decides to rate American presidents. Contemporary circumstances change who rises above the rest, and why.
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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Being that day is Columbus Day, I read something this morning that included something to the effect of, "If judged by today's standards...", then went off to detail all his atrocities, and so on.

    Is that fair? Should he be judged by today's standards and mores, or should he be judged according to the era in which he lived?

    Note: This question is NOT about whether or not he should have a holiday named after him.
    He should be judged by both standards, IMO. The context of the times in which he lived is important, but there's no reason to throw your own morality completely out the window either.

    What is objectively wrong is objectively wrong regardless of the era, after all.

    Frankly, it's not like Columbus' actions are particularly exonerated by the standards of his own day anyway. People were appalled by the atrocities he committed in the 15th Century just as they are now.

    That's exactly why the Spanish Monarchy eventually had him dragged back to Europe in chains.
    Last edited by Gathomas88; 10-13-14 at 02:13 PM.

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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Columbus was a great explorer and he knew how to get it done, the organization, the funding, the staffing and the actual follow through. He was persistent. That took great courage and stubbornness especially in his day and location.

    However, the whole Columbus Day thing is a scam to pacify those here of Italian descent. He didn't discover America, just as Washington didn't chop down the cherry tree and the liberty bell didn't crack peeling out it's song for liberty. In fact, Columbus brought disease and death to every place he visited. It should be Da Vinci Day.

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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    It makes some amount of sense. If you think we don't judge by the standards of our generation, you would be wrong. We do so all the time and historians, since the beginning of the craft, have done so, even if they tried not to. You just should balance it out and not forget how the past operated.
    There is a difference though in judging history with the benefit of what we now know in our later and more enlightened existence and in judging a person by the standards of their own time. Unless we look through the eyes of those who were living their own history whether it is Biblical figures or Roman emperors or those who lived the exploration of 'new worlds', who lived the Reformation, who lived the Renaissance, etc., we will not understand their perspective and we will not understand their history accurately.

    Columbus has much to commend him and much to condemn him as did almost all other people of history. So many figures have been heroes and men/women of great accomplishment while also being deeply flawed individuals or subject to serious error as we now know. Who among us can say he/she is not the same?

    Columbus was very brave to sail off into the unknown with three small ships, most especially when both the Church and science taught that there was an edge out there to be sailed off of to the almost certain detriment of any who did so. He remained convinced until his death that he had discovered a route to an edge of Asia and he never knew that he had found 'the new world'. Yes he took slaves that that was common and quite legal in Europe at that time--human conscience had not yet developed to the point that slavery was in any way immoral. And yes he was a ruthless and very unpopular despotic dictator of Santo Domingo even as he made friends of indigenous populations on other Caribbean lands. Yes he and his men carried deadly diseases to the new world, but that was not intentional and it would have happened eventually anyway.

    So to be fair to Columbus, he was a man of both virtue and feet of clay, honor and greed, loyalty and self serving ambition as most people are in some way. Did he merit his own holiday and to be memorialized in the names of cities, monuments, countries? Probably not as much as some others would have been, but he did leave a definite mark upon history and, for better or worse, he did further the advancement of knowledge and civilization.
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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    There is a difference though in judging history with the benefit of what we now know in our later and more enlightened existence and in judging a person by the standards of their own time. Unless we look through the eyes of those who were living their own history whether it is Biblical figures or Roman emperors or those who lived the exploration of 'new worlds', who lived the Reformation, who lived the Renaissance, etc., we will not understand their perspective and we will not understand their history accurately.

    Columbus has much to commend him and much to condemn him as did almost all other people of history. So many figures have been heroes and men/women of great accomplishment while also being deeply flawed individuals or subject to serious error as we now know. Who among us can say he/she is not the same?

    Columbus was very brave to sail off into the unknown with three small ships, most especially when both the Church and science taught that there was an edge out there to be sailed off of to the almost certain detriment of any who did so. He remained convinced until his death that he had discovered a route to an edge of Asia and he never knew that he had found 'the new world'. Yes he took slaves that that was common and quite legal in Europe at that time--humanities conscience had not yet developed to the point that slavery was in any way immoral. And yes he was a ruthless and very unpopular despotic dictator of Santo Domingo even as he made friends of indigenous population on other Caribbean lands. Yes he and his men carried deadly diseases to the new world, but that was not intentional and it would have happened eventually anyway.

    So to be fair to Columbus, he was a man of both virtue and feet of clay, honor and greed, loyalty and self serving ambition as most people are in some way. Did he merit his own holiday and to be memorialized in the names of cities, monuments, countries? Probably not as much as some others would have been, but he did leave a definite mark upon history and, for better or worse, he did further the advancement of knowledge and civilization.
    The most prudent approach is to have a healthy balance between awareness and credit to the circumstances involved in any historical subject, but to also not become trapped by the temptation to engage in mere apologetics.
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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    1.)He didnt discover anything. Humans already lived there.
    2.)He was a murderous asshole.


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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    I think if you are judging, you should judge Columbus' as a man based upon the standards of his time.

    But you should probably also judge Columbus' actions based upon today's standards. Like Cortes, or Coronado, or even Pizarro, they were impressive leaders and incredibly courageous.... but they did awful things in the name of Christianity. But that doesnt change the fact that these great men changed the world.
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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by clownboy View Post
    Columbus was a great explorer and he knew how to get it done, the organization, the funding, the staffing and the actual follow through. He was persistent. That took great courage and stubbornness especially in his day and location.

    However, the whole Columbus Day thing is a scam to pacify those here of Italian descent. He didn't discover America, just as Washington didn't chop down the cherry tree and the liberty bell didn't crack peeling out it's song for liberty. In fact, Columbus brought disease and death to every place he visited. It should be Da Vinci Day.
    Wouldn't that be true of anybody who was "first"?
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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    It makes some amount of sense. If you think we don't judge by the standards of our generation, you would be wrong. We do so all the time and historians, since the beginning of the craft, have done so, even if they tried not to. You just should balance it out and not forget how the past operated.
    I am not saying people don't. I am saying that people who do are wrong.
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    Re: How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    How should Christopher Columbus be judged?

    Being that day is Columbus Day, I read something this morning that included something to the effect of, "If judged by today's standards...", then went off to detail all his atrocities, and so on.

    Is that fair? Should he be judged by today's standards and mores, or should he be judged according to the era in which he lived?

    Note: This question is NOT about whether or not he should have a holiday named after him.
    He was judged by the standards of the day. He was such an evil bastard as governor he was returned to Spain in chains and prohibited from ever setting foot on Hispaniola again.
    YNWA

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