Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Date Information

December 2018

Department

History

First Advisor

Alexandros Kyrou

Abstract

For over 200 years, Columbus has been imbedded in American history and idealization. The mythology of Christopher Columbus in the United States has skewed public perspective, which is demonstrated by the disconnection between Columbus's widely accepted tales of heroism and the true consequences of his voyage. The explorer has also been part of an ongoing quest for an American identity, spurred on and continually reshaped by the question, “what is an American?” To understand such a phenomenon, this paper examines how Columbus has been added and amended to the United States' national narrative, from the eve of the American Revolution, to the era of Manifest Destiny, to the 1992 quincentennial of his voyage, and right up to his present day status. To address the emerging and diverging narratives of Columbus's legacy, the role of immigration and influence of Italians and Catholics in the United States, as well as the U.S. Treatment of Native Americans, and how these ideals have been spread by individuals, media, and educational systems, are examined. In conclusion of this research, the Columbus mythology can be cited as one of the roots of racial tension inherent in American society, and is one of the moral and conceptual ideas behind the colonial actions the United States has taken both at home and abroad up until the present. The Columbus mythology will continue to play this role unless pro-colonial, Eurocentric, and white supremacist views can be maintained through mainstream government institutions.

Included in

History Commons

COinS