Originally in 1992,
Barbara Ransby, in her article “Columbus and the Making of Historical Myth”,
she set out to unmask the truth behind the myth of Christopher Columbus. In
2007, David Sprecace, in his article “Columbus Should be Celebrated”, he depicted
Columbus as a great American hero. The purpose of this essay is to compare and
contrast the approaches that the two authors used to make their arguments, the
techniques they employed, and the proofs they presented.
At the beginning of her article,
Ransby uses a metaphor by comparing history to a battleground where historians
fight to decide what was to be written (2015, p. 10). She introduces her
disagreement of the fictitious story of Columbus, which hid his real history of
violence. Ransby argues “myths surrounding Columbus’ arrival serve as…
justifications for both male and white supremacy” (2015, p. 11). She uses
united proposition, and opposes Columbus to form her stance for the article. Her
argument was of social relevance and justice for those who suffered and died at
the hands of Columbus. She addresses the atrocities, genocide and social
injustices committed to a race of people. Justice and human sufferings are two
concepts that are timeless, and Ransby effectively uses these two concepts to
get her point across.
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Sprecace starts his
article by agreeing with the traditional depiction of Columbus as a celebrated
hero. Unfortunately, his subjective claim was not argued in objective terms. He
presented some persuasive points but the points did not have depth. He confronted
the anti-Columbus stance by saying that Columbus had been wrongly accused for
genocide, rape, slavery, etc. He argued that by blaming Columbus alone, the
real wrongdoers such as governments, founding fathers, and the KKK, were
excused for their crimes against humanity (Sprecace, 2007, para 5). Unsuccessfully,
he stated that Columbus didn’t cause all the horrible things he was accused of.
Ransby presented superior
proofs to her argument that were both subjective and objective. She quoted
Columbus’s biographer, Kirkpatrick Sale, describing the unspeakable horrors
that were done to the natives of the land under the notion of religion (Ransby,
2015, p. 12). She also quoted Columbus’ sailors’ journal about the slavery,
brutality, and the sexual exploitations of women (Ransby, 2015, p. 14). The
imagery that she painted in the readers’ minds was horrifyingly vivid. This
made her argument convincing and emotionally moving.
article has a lack of any strong proofs. This made his argument weak and
unconvincing. He used the same ideas over and over, which made his article
repetitive and boring. This suggested either ignorance or indifference. He suggested
that the native people were barbaric and that they deserved what happened to
them. His portrayal of the native tribes was flawed. Although native communities
have always had a history of war amongst themselves, as a community, they had a
collective identity. It takes an open mind to appreciate the beauty of other
cultures which Sprecace obviously lacks.
Although Ransby wrote a
very persuasive article, it was not free from bias and logical fallacies. She
uses hasty generalization and genetic fallacy on her stance that Columbus and
all his men were vile people, and that the natives were all blameless victims.
Humans are good and bad by nature, regardless of race, and to categorize all as
either bad or good is a fallacy. This suggested that she might even be
selective of the information she used, and chose only those that supported her
Barbara Ransby is an
American-African historian, writer, and activist. She is a Professor of African
American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of
Illinois at Chicago. Given her background, it is safe to assume that she would
be sympathetic towards women and native people. Her education and experience
validates her knowledge on the subject of history. Her allegiance is to the
oppressed people of history. She has no sympathy for colonizers and oppressors.
The accolades she has earned in her field cements her reputation as a reliable
Sprecace is a well – known Tax Attorney in Denver, Colorado, and former
president of the Denver Columbus Day Parade Committee. He does not have
expertise in social studies or history. It is evident that he favors capitalism,
and being a Caucasian male, it’s safe to say he might have trouble
understanding the plight and suffering of women and people of color.
confidently believes that the end result justifies the means. In this case, the
justification was to ensure the acceptance of imperialism and colonialism in
the name of exploration. His argument lacked sufficient proofs to establish the
legitimacy of his claim, thus, making it ineffective and biased. On the
opposing side, Barbara Ransby refuted all pro-Columbus claims. Between the two
writers, Barbara Ransby presented a better argument in all aspects of critical
writing. Ransby’s strategy could be improved by not belittling the entire
exploration era, and by balancing the two opposing sides of the story.