The Final Countdown To...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer Assignment #6

Columbian Exchange - The positives and negatives of the Age of Exploration

To help students in the 2013-14 APUSH class make sense of Chapter 2 in Lies My Teacher Told Me (1493-The True Important of Christopher Columbus), answer any of the following questions.  Do not hesitate to ask your own questions, or even to question or comment on something one of your classmates may post.  The only things to remember are to avoid text-like phrasing, and to remain polite.

The Assignment
A. Read the chapter from Lies My Teacher Told Me.

B. Following the commenting guidelines, answer ANY of the following questions (choose 3 or 4, please do NOT answer all of them), and respond to them in the comments section of this post.

As you read through 1493 in Lies...
  1. One question I had about what I read was....
  2. What were you thinking about as you were reading? Can you reconcile this version of Columbus with the others you've read or learned?
  3. What question(s) can you ask about what you read?
  4. While I read, I was curious about...
  5. What words or ideas need clarifying for you?
  6. What does the author want me to remember or learn from this passage?
  7. What is the most important information in this passage?
  8. What kind of “teacher” question can I ask about the main idea?
  9. In my own words, this is about ...

C. Return in a few days and read through the responses of others. Again, following the commenting guidelines, provide feedback, criticism, or ask questions. Also, if somebody responds to your comment, feel free to comment back, of course, being polite. It will help promote positive dialogue in class later this year.

Both B & C must be completed to earn full credit for the assignment.


Jillian Murphy said...

1.One question I had about what I read was, Why had so much information about Columbus' brutalities? At first I thought that it was because when we were little the accounts would be upsetting. Now the information could be valuable, so why have textbooks created for High School students not begun to include the truth about Columbus' harsh idea of power.

4. While I read, I was curious about the Native Americans. When the Spaniards first arrived, how did they react? You would think that they would be threatened by their presence, but most accounts describe them as gentle and inviting. This poses another question. If they were so peaceful, why would the Spaniards be so cruel?

9. In my own words, this piece of literature was created to emphasize the importance of obtaining knowledge about common historical events. It is clear that the story of Columbus was taught in a vague way. Other events should be looked into more closely to prevent more misconceptions of reality.

Ashley Maloney said...

4. While I was reading, I was curious as to why the author really only mentioned Las Casas as one of the people who opposed slavery. There had to have been a lot more people who did believe slavery is wrong. Yes, it could be because there is no names of other people, but there had to be more than just one person.

6. The author wants me to remember that not everything you read in history textbooks is the truth. History textbooks want to tell you what you want to hear. The author also wants me to remember that

7. The most important information in this passage is, that Columbus is not entirely the 'hero' that we have learned about. Columbus was not the first person to reach the Americas, and he kill and mistreated almost everyone he came in contact with.

Ashley Maloney said...

Dear Jillian,
I completely agree when you said that "textbooks...not begun to include the truth about Columbus..." This information that we have read about is important. But the idea behind the fact that it isn't in textbooks, is because Columbus is a 'hero' but with the new information it will change peoples opinions about him.
I think what you said in your own words was well said. I agree with you saying that "other events should be looked into more closely..." It would be interesting to know new details about something that thought was so accurate.


Raeanne Geffert said...

While I was reading, I was thinking about just how corrupt our textbooks are. These companies are refusing to change in the name of patriotism. America needs to take a step back and realize that Columbus was not the man we thought was; and therefore we should give credit where it is due. Just because we think we were founded by the great Spanish and colonized by the powerful British does not make us great and powerful, nor any better than the Afro-Phoenicians who may have discovered the Americas first.

I can reconcile with this version of Columbus. This version contains the most plausible information, and coincides with the primary sources that are available to us. The story of Columbus that is accepted in the United States is brushing fiction in my opinion. The version that is relayed to us in Lies My Teacher Told Me utilizes facts as background, and covers the gray areas in the traditional Columbus story.

In my own words, this is about how Americans are blindly honoring a man and a journey, neither of which are as noble as we once thought. The overall theme is how history is constantly changing with new developments through new technology, and our job as we uncover this "new" history is to find the truth in it, and spread the word.

Raeanne Geffert said...


First let me say that you made some nice points in your response. I agree with what you said.

I believe the reason Las Casas was the only author mentioned was because he was the most educated. He was a missionary who held some authority in the form of respect within his community. He may have been the only one who had the means to spread his writing. Furthermore, he may have been one of the few credible authors who pitied the Indians. Most high ranking officials were brutal towards the natives; and unfortunately, their word was law. Las Casas was radical and brave for his time, and that may be why his writings are the only ones used in the defense of the Indians.

I hope this answers your question.


Jillian Murphy said...

Hi Ash!
You make a nice point in your comment about my post. I like that you added that "with the new information it will change people's opinions about him." I think it is a controversial topic that needs to be discussed more often.

Jillian Murphy said...

Hey Rae,
I really agree with you saying, "We should give credit where it is due." It is important to give credit to those that deserve it, rather than a patriotic figure that wasn't even a very fantastic person. He did influence our society in many ways, but probably not the ways we would want.

Kiersten Sirowich said...

1. One question I had when I read was Is this author showing us that Christopher Columbus was a good man? He finds evidence that not every history book has the same background for Columbus. He also shows that Columbus is only talked in positive ways. Is the Author telling us that Christopher Columbus shouldn't be recognized as a role model?

6. The author wants me to remember that Christopher Columbus was a legendary hero, with secrets that he carried with him. Columbus's background may say he is a rich or poor man but which was it. History knows only of Columbus's discoveries not what led him there.

9.In my own word, this is about facts of Christopher Columbus whether or not they were true. This passage talks about how Columbus was not the first to discover America. It also talks about what history books say about Columbus and how whether or not he was a great man. Columbus was a mass murderer. He also was very brave when discovering america and not knowing what was in the ocean.

Kiersten Sirowich said...

I think that the author only mention Las Casas as a person who opposed slavery because he was the only well known man at the time. You also have to remember that a lot has changed since the 1700s people have relized that you can not use a person as property. As well as you make a great point about how history textbooks dont give the full truth. They twist the truth into their own bais opinion. Also, I like how you said that Christopher columbus wasn't as great as a man everyone said he was.


Emily Wrogg said...

1. While reading, I questioned why more people don't understand how cruel Columbus was. The author displays more information than I've ever heard about the topic, so why isn't it being put out for America to know the truth?. I think it's easier to take our holiday weekend for granted than to take the time to learn what really happened when Columbus "discovered" America.

4. While I read, I was curious about how Columbus and his men felt while lashing out at the natives. Did they have any sort of conscience at all? How can somebody be so blinded by greed that they were willing to cut off limbs and commit horrific acts of genocide? It is disgusting and shameful to admit the truth. I just couldn't comprehend how these men could be so terrible to other human beings. It seemed as though they had no feelings, especially not toward people who were so kind to them in the beginning.

6. The author wants me to remember the truth behind Columbus's proud mask. He wasn't nearly as wonderful and heroic as we believe him to be. After reading this, I think I will take away knowledge about history in general. If our textbooks leave out crucial details to make a better story, what else do we not know about American history?

Emily Wrogg said...

In response to the question at the end of your first entry, I believe that the author IS trying to get us to to look at Columbus in a darker light, and prove that he is not a role model by giving examples of his cruelty. However, I disagree with your second entry. The author doesn't want Columbus to be remembered as an hero at all, so he described his evil ways in a negative tone.
~ Emily

Emily Curina said...

1. One question I had about what I read was, Do all author's of textbooks honestly view Christopher Columbus as a hero to our country, or do they just glorify him because they think that's the story people would rather hear? Throughout reading this passage when the author would quote more than 6 different major textbooks they all sounded surprisingly the same. This made me wonder if they just stay unbiased when writing, and simply recap on what previous sources have said. Overall, the question I'm left with is what are the authors of the textbook's honest positions on Christopher Columbus?

4. While I was reading the first few pages of "The True Importance of Christopher Columbus" I was curious about if the remainder of the passage was going to idolize Columbus or portray him as a misconception. On the second page, the author stated that textbooks try to "humanize Columbus." This made me wonder if the author had thought that Columbus was such an amazing figure in history, who accomplished such unimaginable things, that he almost didn't seem like a real person, or if they thought that Columbus did such brutal and morbid things while on his voyages that he seemed more like a monster than a human. I was very curious about the deeper meaning of this specific sentence because either way it would have set the tone for the rest of the passage.

6. The author wants anyone who reads this passage to remember that the full story of Christopher Columbus is partially fabricated and it's filled with uncertainty's. They also want us to learn that when it comes to author's of textbooks, "their enterprise is Building Character" which is exactly what they did with Christopher Columbus. They made him out to be a hero and the discoverer of the "New World" when in fact several others had already voyaged to America, and millions we're already living there. What the author really just wants for us to take away from this passage is that the story of Christopher Columbus is just a really big controversy and there are completely different sides to the story.

Anastasija Cupic said...

2. As I read, I reminisced about a question I asked myself as a child: “How did Christopher Columbus ‘discover’ America if the Indians already lived there? Didn’t they discover it?”. In Lies my teacher told me , the author confirms my opinion when stating, “The word discover is another part of the problem, for how can one person discover what another already knows and owns?”. The answer is one can not. The word discover is an issue in many cases. For example, how can a scientist ‘discover’ an animal if it was already known for by local people? Yes, it is a discovery for those who had not known about the object in question, but they did not discover it.
The Columbus I read about in this excerpt seems to be the long-lost evil twin of the Columbus learned about in elementary schools. It is possible that Columbus to the way he is ‘traditionally’ described at the beginning of his voyage when he describes the Indians as “...of quick intelligence. They have very good customs”, but his want for gold changed into a man that enslaved innocent Indians and called them “cruel and stupid”. Overall, the ‘traditional’ story of columbus is a sugar-coated, almost fairytale-like representation of the truth.

4. While reading I became curious about the possibility of Afro-Phoenicians visiting central America around 750B.C. I was fascinated for I had never heard of this before; I wondered why this is not mentioned in textbooks. Could this be an ethical debate between skin colors? “White historians insist that the case for the Afro-Phoenicians has not been proven; we must not distort history to improve black children’s self-image, they say”. In my opinion, this is more about the white mind-set that whites are superior to others, so they are to be credited with “discovery non-whites rather than a mutual, multicultural encounter”. “So the Afro-Phoenicians’ feats do not conform to the textbooks’ overall story line about how white Europeans taught the rest of the world how to do things”.

6. After reading this passage, the author wants me to remember that “history is not a set of facts but a series of arguments, issues, and controversies” to which “historians do not know all the answers, hence history is not just a process of memorizing them”. With all the controversy concerning who discovered the Americas first, historians find it “easier to retell the old familiar Columbus story”. “...When textbooks paint simplistic portraits of a pious, heroic Columbus, they provide feel-good history that bores everyone”.

9. This Passage is mainly about explorers, especially Christopher Columbus, not being all they are put out to be. Every year we learn about Columbus being a hero who ‘discovered’ the Americas, but never once are we told the truth about his actions. This textbook introduces controversy and the possibility of what is written in textbooks not being true (something that is rarely seen). As mentioned above, controversy and questions provide an interesting history that students actually want to learn about, unlike the “feel-good history that bores everyone”.

Anastasija Cupic said...

Hi Rae!
As I told you, I absolutely love your response! You hit a lot of points and condensed them very well. I 100% agree with everything you said. I like how you wrote, “The story of columbus that accepted in the United states is brushing fiction…”. I have never thought of it like that before but it makes sense; you gave me ideas for my response by saying that. Your interpretation of the overall theme is also very well said.

Alexa Fryc said...

1.) One question I had about what I read was, How come people didn't write that the vikings discovered America in the first place or any of the people before him? Why was he " number one" when he was really the last one?

4.)While I read, I was curious about if Columbus ever felt as if he was doing something wrong or if he even felt bad. Basically, didn't he know that he was doing the wrong thing torturing the Native Americans?

6.) The author definitely wanted us to remember and learn that Christopher Columbus was not a hero. She wanted us to know the truth about him, and not what he has been made to be over the past decades.

Alexa Fryc said...

Hey Jilly,
I really liked how short but informative your response was to number 9. It was basic idea of the whole article, so good job!
Also, I think i might have got the answer to your curiosity, but i believe that because the Native Americans posed as such welcoming people, the Spaniards felt as if they can take advantage of them. I hope that was a good inference for you!

Alyssa Brana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa Brana said...

1. One question I had while was reading was, How can the authors of textbooks provide information that can not necccessarily be proven? For example, the author describes how some textbooks discuss more about the Europeans passion for exploration rather than discussing the actual causes for the age of European conquest.Why would they not talk about things that are factual, rather than writing something that makes for an inspirational story.

4. While I read I was curious about why historians chose to portray Columbus as a national hero when others before him have done more for exploration. For one thing, he was extremely brutal and had ideas of conquest and power in mind before he thought of expansion and trade. There were other candidates who had already discovered America who could have been represented far better than Columbus.

6. The author wants me to learn that Christopher Columbus was not all that he has been made out to be. They also wanted readers to know that not all the information provided in textbooks can be proven.

Ty Sirowich said...

1. One question I had about the reading was why would people allow and use textbooks that were not written from primary sources and contain bias information. Some textbooks say Columbus's ships were tiny and not suitable for the journey, but primary source, Pietro Barozzi, said, "these vessels were fully suited to his purpose." I Do not understand why our education systems allow us to learn information that is not true.

4. While I read I was curious about why Columbus did not stop answering to Spain. He didn't provide them with the gold he promised, so instead he sent them slaves. Spain already had sent him part of an army with enough firearms, so he could have just ran an establishment there without answering back to Spain. He did not get lots of recognition in his lifetime for his accomplishments.

7. The most important information in the passage is not all textbooks provide true information. many textbooks say what people want to hear instead of the truth. They do not always follow primary sources and are biased towards what the writer believes.

Ty Sirowich said...


I agree with how you said the information about how harsh Columbus was could be "valuable". For number 4, the Spaniards were so cruel because they were greedy and were looking to become wealthier and obtain gold, so they stopped at nothing to do so.

Alyssa Brana said...


I really liked how you said textbooks "tell you what you want to hear" rather than giving factual information. I agreed with all of your responses.


Jennastep426 said...

1.) One question I had while I read was, why do textbooks lack information about people who explored the Americas before Columbus? It is understandable back then when information couldn't be spread at the pace it can be now; why couldn't it now be spread as new information?

6.) The author wants me to remember you can't always trust what you were told or what you read. A history book will side with the country it is written in, and its not ones fault its just casual bias.

9.) In my own words this is about finding information for yourself and not trusting everything you hear or read. You need multiple opinions to get the full story.

Jesica Litwa said...

1) One question i had about what i read was, how could textbooks all throughout elementary and middle school give such false information about Christopher Columbus? The passage gave many examples on why he was not a hero, so why would books inform me false info? Were the authors trying to hide something or protect Columbus?

4) While reading this passage, I was curious of why Columbus had received all of the credit for exploring and finding america? When others have explored it many years before him. For example it says how other Europeans would have soon reached the Americas even if Columbus had never sailed. Then why is he still known as the hero when all he did was brutal things to the Native Americans. Books should not be published that release false information.

6) The author wants me to learn that Christopher Columbus is not the heroic individual that I grew up to believe. Also, the author wants me to realize that the information that is given in certain textbooks is not true and cannot be proven.

Jesica Litwa said...

Hi Alexa,

I liked how you gave your strong opinion of Christopher Columbus. I also liked how you tried to put yourself in Columbus's position by feeling guilty for those who he hurt. Your response allowed me to understand better. Keep up the good work!

Pat Tucker said...

A question I have is why are all these text books that the author is talking about do not show the real truth of Christopher Columbus?

The questions that arose in my head are Why don't more people know the real truth? Also why does he continue to have his own holiday when he was actually a very cruel and nasty person. Lastly Why don't they change the readings of these textbooks to further children's knowledge so when they figure out the real truth they aren't second guessing their teacher?

In my own words this is about the real Christopher Columbus. He was very cruel. He killed many innocent people that didn't deserve to die. Also he was very greedy. All he wanted was gold. Wealth and money controlled his life.

Pat Tucker said...

HI Jillian I agree with the questions that you asked., Why hasn't the word gotten out to the children. I mean it shouldn't be as brutal but they should know the real ways of Christopher Columbus.

Abby Furfaro said...

1. One question i had about what i read was, are the writers of the textbooks trying to protect European desendants? It satates in the text that they are avoiding the topic of domination, so are they trying to avoid the point that the Europeans completely dominated everyone and everything, not giving credit to the cultures before them, and trying to underplay how Columbus immediately dominated this 'new world' to be how he wanted it.

6. The aauthor wants me to remember that everything written in a textbook isn't necesarily true or the entire truth. Most wirters of the textbooks mentioned left out most of what actually happened and columbus' motivations for going to this 'new world' and how he was not the first person to make it there or 'discover' it.

9. In my own words this is about how Columbus isn't really the 'hero' he is made out to be. In elementary school we learned how in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and then discovered the Americas. when in reality, Columbus was not the first person to make it to the Americas, and his main motivation was gold and money. However, most textbooks leave out all of the important facts that tell us who Columbus really was, and leave us with nothing but lies.

Abby Furfaro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abby Furfaro said...

I completely agree with all of your statements, however i think you left off some info on number 6 :) I like how your answers were short and got right to the pointm explaining how Columbus was a cruel man who is made out to be this noble man who 'discovered' the Americas


Cassandra R. said...
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Cassandra R. said...

One question I had about what I read was why it mentioned that the enterprise of textbooks is “Building Character.” Why don’t they want students to learn about the real history of the world, and instead throw fiction into the mix with the shady truth? They could teach students about character and behavior somewhere other than history class. They can save the inspiring stories for something else because exaggerating on real history won’t help students learn the truth.

While I read, I was curious about why the textbook authors wanted “to make a better myth.” I thought that the purpose for writing textbooks is to inform students about the past, not to entertain them. For example, why would they exaggerate the truth? They should know that it is not the right thing to do. If a piece of history was controversial, why wouldn’t they mention that? It could lead to a discussion in class, and it wouldn’t feed you false, opinionated knowledge.

The author wants me to remember that Columbus did a variety of things that could make him not considered a hero. For example, he wanted to “discover” the new land so that he could find gold for himself. He wanted to be wealthy and help improve his own situation. He also treated the Native Americans horribly, and forced them to become slaves. He also wasn’t the first person to discover America. This passage even suggests that he was the last person to do so. It was just the way that everyone else reacted. This passage gives you another take on what Christopher Columbus was like, and makes you reconsider what you are learning about historical figures.

In my own words, this is about how many textbooks that students study are loaded with questionable information. Many of the events that they explain in these textbooks are not backed up with information. They sometimes tell lies just to make some people look better. It makes some people wonder what textbooks they can and can’t trust. For example, it focuses mainly on Columbus and how many history textbooks don’t include the negative side of Christopher Columbus. They just include what made him such a “hero.” They don’t include that he contributed to slavery and had a main goal of gold when coming to America. Overall, no one is going to be happy when these textbooks get published because someone is going to be left out, even though they feel it is important to history.

Cassandra R. said...

Hi Anna,
I really agree with your comment about Columbus when you said, "The Columbus I read about in this excerpt seems to be the long-lost evil twin of the Columbus learned about in elementary schools." The man we learned about is contradicting with the man in Lies My Teacher Told Me. I think that maybe Christopher Columbus is not just the good or the evil version; I think that he is a combination of both versions. What do you think?

Bree Schmitt said...

1. My question about what I had read was why was all of this information hidden from us in middle and high school? I understand that when we were younger it could be upsetting but after we had matured why wouldnt they begin to tell us to truth.

6. The author wants me to remember that Columbus was not the man we all though he was. He was just a power hungry explorer, and although he did help create the "New World" he also began to ruin it, and make it just as strict as England because of him being selfish.

9. In my own words. This piece of literature was created so that we would know the truth about Columbus. We would have never found out, because all of out high school text books make Christopher Columbus out to be a hero, when really he was just power hungry. This is one of the very few pieces of literature that lets out the real truth to high school students.

Bree Schmitt said...

I completely agree with your thought that the literature was used to emphasize the importance of obtaining knowledge about common historical events. Although this knowledge is rarely heard of, it is extremely important to know.

Jenna Stepleman said...


I love your comments about how the "information could be valuable now' but I think that it could be expanded to talk about why the information is valuable and to who.

Have a good last day of summer!


Emily Curina said...

Hey Anastasija,
I loved how you answered the question of what the author wanted you to learn/remember by quoting things he said in the passage. That just proves that the author did want you to know that or else he wouldn't have mentioned it. Also I completely agree that “history is not a set of facts but a series of arguments, issues, and controversies" was one of the more noticeable reoccurring topics in this passage, therefore I believe this was probably the main point that the author was trying to make. Great Job Ana!
Emily Curina

Olivia Gawlak said...

While i was reading, i wondered why the author only said Las Casas was the only one who opposed slavery. There was definitely more than one person because it eventually lead up to a war..

One question i had when i read this was why is there so much information about Columbus' wrongings? When we were kids they told us he was a hero, but now learning he's actually pretty evil is a shock. Why don't our books say this stuff.

In my own words, this piece of literature was written to inform the readers about historical events. Since what we learned before isn't all true, this was made to tell us the truth.

Scott Walkinshaw said...

1. One question I had about What I read was that on page 44 it states "Except for one paragraph one disease in The American Pageant, not one of the twelve textbooks mentions..." and then on page 64 it states, "Yet only one of the twelve textbooks, The American Pageant, mentions...." These statements contradict each other making me question the validity of the authors data.

6. The author wants me to remember that not everything you read is true. He also wants me to learn that history isn't just facts that you have to memorize rather it is significant events and ideas which me must question and interpret to grasp the meaning.

9. In my own words, this is about how James Loewen tries to express how textbooks can deceive their readers by highlighting the good and eliminating the bad.

Scott Walkinshaw said...

I really liked your question that you had while reading. That thought crossed my mind too. Its almost like they are making up information to glorify a false 'hero'.

Anastasija Cupic said...

Hi Cassie!
Thanks for reading my response! I agree with you that Columbus was probably a combination of both versions, it just seems to me that he is portrayed as just evil in this text(the author assumed that the readers already know the story of the 'heroic' Columbus) and just a hero in textbooks. Hopefully this clarifies exactly what I ment by that. :)

Anastasija Cupic said...

Hi Emily!
Thank you for your feedback! I really liked your response as well! You asked some really great questions that could really be discussed further. Good job! :)

Julia Pietruszka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia Pietruszka said...

When reading Chapter 2 of "Lies My Teacher Told Me," I asked myself why it had taken so long for the truth about Columbus to be so accessible. Until this book came out, most people (students in particular) probably had no way of knowing that Columbus was certainly not the first to discover America. Since most American historians writing our textbooks wrote what they found more favorable to our country's image, rather than the whole, unbiased truth, it was likely very difficult for students to be taught the truth. Loewen states, "The authors of history textbooks have taken us on a trip of their own, away from the facts of history, into the realms of myth." Despite many historians masking real history with tales of Columbus' glory, I thought that there would have at least been a portion of American historians willing to expose the reality to the general public, even if it meant rewriting what was popularly accepted as America's history.

A notion I need clarifying with is the one regarding modern events influencing how people present certain cultures or religions in their past. In Lies My Teacher Told Me, said modern event is the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Loewen states, "robably several of the half-dozen authors of the offending textbooks encountered The Modern Researcher in graduate school. Somehow the information did not stick, though. This may be because blaming Turks fits with the West's archetypal conviction that followers of Islam are likely to behave irrationally or nastily." Frankly, I do not understand why historians would, despite being face-to-face with the truth, ignore it and then alter it in publications simply due to an occurence hundreds of years after Columbus' time. The correlation between those who executed the attacks and those who followed the same religion as them hundred of years ago is not present. This is because besides religion, what do they have in common? And religion can not be blamed for it, because if the people who executed said attacks were doing so because of their religion, Islam followers long ago would have done similar acts. In reality, it is the Islam followers who showed more kindness when compared with the Christians of Columbus' time. Loewen states, "Turks and Moors allowed Jews and Chris- tians freedom of worship at a time when European Christians tortured or expelled Jews and Muslims." This is why I do not understand why people would sacrifice telling the truth to victimize a religious group, or to increase patriotism.

The author wants me to remember that not only was Columbus nowhere near the saint he was portrayed to be in American textbooks, but also that history textbooks in general are not a reliable source of history. The author, depending on their beliefs and nationality, will twist the truth to make people believe what they want them to. Loewen states, "Unfortunately, almost everything in this traditional account is either wrong or unverifiable. The authors of history textbooks have taken us on a trip of their own, away from the facts of history, into the realm of myth." This statement helps the reader realize that the author's purpose for writing this book was to prove a point, to reveal the unspoken truth.

Abby A said...

1 One question I had was why were we only informed of how "heroic" Christopher Columbus was as younger children and why the truth of what he did wasn't told to us until now?

4 While I read, I was curious if Christopher Columbus ever felt remorse for what he had done? Did he even realize what he was doing was wrong?

6 The author wants me to remember what was really behind Christopher's supposedly heroic discovery.

liam flannery said...

1. One question I had while reading was why do predominately all history textbooks don't explain the factual events took place when and after Columbus and the Spaniards reached the West Indies. Though textbooks that do tell of this, also don't say how Columbus had any direct involvement, which historically is not accurate as proved by "Lies My Teacher Told Me." How can we determine conjecture and false stories from factual and historical events? History should not be devoted to glorifying American or any other pivotal figure, but should be there to depict and inform us of true history whether that history favors a good tale or not.

2. As I was reading I thought many things about Columbus that prior to reading I had never before. These accounts I read, depict a Columbus that many of us were not familiar with. I was astonished to find all the things he did, including essentially exterminating the indigenous people who posed no threat and were rather kind to the Spaniards. I cannot reconcile this version of Columbus to other I have heard when I was younger. All the stories whether factual or not represented a man of great courage and dignity who through peril and hardship discovered America. Not a man who participated in such a travesty as genocide.

9. In my own words this book was created to delineate Columbus as the man he truly was, and not the one misrepresented in numerous history textbooks. People should not only identify with one side of a historical event, but both to obtain a richer comprehension of the events that took place, and to show that through better understanding we can differentiate between stories that appeal to the ear, and accurate historical events.

liam flannery said...

Hi Abby,
I completely agree what you said about protecting European descendants. I don't understand, although it is implicated, that Europe essentially dominated the world although other cultures had already established where they lived, and Europe just came in and took it over as their own, then took credit for it. Good job on incorporating a large idea, and how it correlated with Columbus coming and dominating North America.

Julia Pietruszka said...

Hi Scott,
I found your comment regarding history in general interesting. When you said that history is not merely a set of facts to memorize, but rather significant events that we are left with to interpret and question, I wondered if this could have been the reason for authors everywhere writing textbooks not in accordance with the truth. Perhaps they feel an obligation to present the history the way that they see it, hence why many of them glorified Columbus and made him look like a hero. In their eyes,
despite what he did, he may very well be a hero. Tell me if you agree on this one.

Coray Marchetti said...

3.One question I had while i read was will we ever know the full truth of what Columbus did? Sure we have many accounts of what he accomplished but how do we know which ones to believe? The answer probably will remain unknown because the question is very controversial, historians will probably debate about it, come to a conclusion in which they think is right and leave it as that. But I think that the true story of columbus is forever going to be a mystery.

4. While i read i was curious about how Columbus was idolized for finding America. In the passage it mentions several other accounts where people have made it to America. Like the expeditions of the Norse, in the passage it states,"Some archaeologists and historians believe that the Norse got as far down the coast as North Carolina." I am curious why textbooks do not join these accounts together to say that not only did Columbus find America but others before him have as well. Its an interesting thought on how textbooks show Columbus a hero and not just another person to find America.

7. The most important part of this passage is how our modern day textbooks still include myths and guesses on history. This is important because what we learn from these books now will affect us in the future in some way or another. If we learn that Columbus was a hero, we will always believe that until facts are found to prove it otherwise. Then many of the textbooks would have to be rewritten and what we learned was a lie. Then teachers will have to relearn it too. So it should be written stated true or stated as a controversial myth.

Coray Marchetti said...

Dear Liam,
I agree with your question,"How can we determine conjecture and false stories from factual and historical events?" I too thought this while i read this, it is interesting how we both thought of this. There are probably many others who think this as well, i think its a controversial topic. I thought your question was superb, great job!

Dan Robinson said...

1.One question I had while I read was, how similar can textbooks be when nearly none of the information placed in some sources can be proven completely? If our education has been filled with lies from this point, then what is stopping teachers from blatantly lying to our faces? I feel our future deserves to know the truth, no matter how hard.

6. After reading this passage I am aware that the author is trying to instill a message into the ignorant minds of young readers as to prove the secondary sources are not always correct, for his actions while in the new land were dreadful and extremely harmful, yet the textbooks that we have today hide the hidden side of him and only show Columbus as a strong and powerful man who led our world to be as great as it is now. The current text leads modern Americans to believe Columbus was the lead man is discovering this nation, when in fact historians feel that it is much, "easier to retell the old familiar Columbus story" because this was the story passed down through centuries and essentially became a tall tale in comparison to the truth concerning the Native Americans.

9. In my own words I can honestly state that I believe this eye opening piece of writing was written with students across the country in mind to ensure that our future of America could change the retelling tall tales of lies of Columbus that have been countlessly passed on with multiple versions contradicting one text from another. The story of Columbus was blindly told to innocent students for nobody truly understood the harsh impact until this realization came and hit students like myself square in the face. Columbus was a shady character in his works upon reaching the new land and his actions were secretive as well. This text allows people to see past the veil that covers the eyes of ignorant students and allows many to understand the truth.

Dan Robinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Robinson said...

Hey Corey,
I truly liked your comment on our modern textbooks in stating they,"...Still include myths and guesses on history." This here is a valid point for not many people in this world can be too sure on whether what we have learned is true or not so your insight provides a basic understanding of how our world works and reacts to lies after a point of realization occurs as it did here. One question I had was do you believe that it is unnecessary for people to decide to write and create new textbooks or learn new facts due to the idea that many will be hurt by the fact that it was a lie? Thanks again for the great post!
Your friend,
Dan Robinson

Zachary Wiacek said...

One question I had about what I read was, Why don't teachers reveal to us at a younger age that Columbus truly wasn't a hero compared to other famous explorers during his time. Columbus is basically given full credit for finding land that was already discovered and inhabited by earlier civilizations.

The author wants me to learn that Columbus was truly not a great hero as we see him in our eyes. He killed, stole, and took advantage of the poor Native Americans when they were clueless of the Spaniards nasty plans and only treated them with kindness and respect.

In my own words, this passage was to discuss what brought about the beginning of slavery and the greed for power in the newly discovered colonies. This cruel behavior is what caused conflict and the civil war during the earlier years. We know today of these evil manners and have successfully put an end to it to bring us closer to peace.

Zachary Wiacek said...


I was also curious and agreeing with you about your comment on why Columbus didn't just establish his own settlement there. Columbus was not praised or given riches for his findings. He became poor after taking part in more explorations and later died a sad/lonely death. He could have been praised as a King if he followed his greed but saw the goodness in himself to live a different life.

Janet Collins said...

One question I had about what I read was, why is Columbus one of the only people who has a holiday named after them still? Why is he more important than people like Washington and Lincoln?

In my own words this was about how much different Columbus was compared to what students are taught in their history classes.

The phrase that I need clarifying for is, "Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world..." How can this be portrayed as a phenomena if the definition of phenomena is a rare or significant fact or event. If it is claimed that the conquest of other peoples is natural, why would the author compare what Columbus did to something rare or significant if it was human nature.

Janet Collins said...

Hi Alexa,
I liked how you were curious about if Columbus ever wondered if he was doing something wrong in terms of his treatment of the Native Americans. It puts into perspective what his motives and morals were.