Feature Post

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christopher Columbus in the History of America

American national memory is full of symbols and icons, avatars, and deeply rooted out yet, I think. Role in the history of iconography in the United States is widespread, but the facts behind the fiction are somehow lost in a fog of amorphous patriotism and perceived national identity. Christopher Columbus, when the hero and symbol of the first order in America, is an important figure in the pantheon of American myth. His position, not unlike most American icons, representing not his accomplishments, but the idea of ​​society that led him to a pedestal-American gallery of heroism.

This gallery was not present at the birth of the political nation. America as a young republic, found themselves immediately in the midst of an identity crisis. Completing a violent separation from England and its cultural and political icons, America was left with no history - or heroes. Michael Kammen, in Mystic Chords of Memory explains that "repudiation of Americans moved to the left of the young republic, not a sound basis on which to base a common sense of their social self." (65) A new national history was necessary, but the revolutionary leaders, obvious choices for mythical transformation, were loath to be raised to their pedestals. "While all nations need a mythical explanation of his own creation, the process was paradoxically produced by the reluctance of revolutionary state to get their story told prematurely." (Kammen, 27) To be above others would be undemocratic, they thought.

The human need to explain the origin, to create its own identity through national identity, was thwarted by this reluctance. A vacuum was created, and was slowly filled with the image of Christopher Columbus.

"The partnership between Columbus and America took root in the imagination" in the eighteenth century. "People had more reason to think of themselves in terms of the hallmarks of America." (Noble, 250) of Americans in search of a story and a hero, discovered Columbus. A series of short stories and poetry references to Columbus arise in the years after the Revolution, Philip Freneau Photos of Columbus, Joel Barlow Vision of Columbus 1787, 1775 and Phillis Wheatley innovation, poetic device "Columbia" as a symbol of Columbus and America. Kings College of New York changed its name in 1792 in Columbia, and the new Capitol in Washington DC was called out of respect for those who want the country name after Columbus. Noble notes that

It is not difficult to understand the appeal of Columbus as a totem of the new Republic and the former subjects of George III. Columbus had found a way to escape the tyranny of the Old World. He was the solitary person who challenged the unknown sea, as triumphant Americans contemplated the dangers and promises of their own wild frontier ... as a consequence of his vision and daring, there was now a free land of kings, a vast continent for new beginnings. At Columbus the new nation has its own history and mythology found a hero from the distant past, one seemingly free of any taint of association with European colonial powers. The Columbus symbolism gave America an instant mythology and a unique place in history, and their adoption of Columbus magnified his own place in history. (252)

If the revolutionary generation was inspired by Christopher Columbus, consider the reaction of the nineteenth century: Christopher Columbus was an incarnation of the faith of this century - the search for new lands, an intrepid explorer. However, the discovery of America the nineteenth century, Columbus was not as simple as that of the late eighteenth century. The United States, and certainly in the 1830's, was in the middle of a love affair with the new. America was seen as the "land of the future" (Emerson "Young American," 1844), the most important new "old" history. Formal education for most of the nineteenth century, "has given little in the past in American history has remained largely a matter of minor -.. schools rarely form part of the program" (Kammen, 51) Americans had a duration of "too little attention to history, even the history of their own heroes.

"(Kammen, 49) The important thing was that his hero was bold, adventurous, and has represented innovation: who better than Christopher Columbus to represent bold new Americans in the United States still has a hero pantheon, the facts behind the faces were of little importance.

Again, as in the late eighteenth century, Columbus was a reflection of the company that created and recreated it. The comb reminds us that "societies in fact reconstruct their pasts rather than faithfully record them" do "with the needs of contemporary culture clearly in mind." (3) The culture of the early nineteenth century was one of increasing fragmentation and the "obstacles to achieving a viable, coherent sense of national tradition were many: separate sections, and value systems conflict with self-image of each other and themselves "as well as various factions and political parties. (Kammen, 50) Columbus was a perfect icon for the day confused in the early nineteenth century, through social, political and regional boundaries, giving a kind of superficial unity of the American national identity, created a decontextualized and increasingly one-dimensional hero level in the image of age.

Like Columbus to achieve this status? Once again, through the enhancement of its authors. Washington Irving was part of a "small but vocal group of Americans Antebellum," which "seemed deeply concerned about the irrelevance of the memory of their contemporaries," and in 1819 he expressed a desire to "'I lose myself between the magnitudes of shadow of the past. "(Kammen, 60), did just that recently found in manuscripts Navarrete (the work of one of Columbus's life of his contemporaries), which were published in 1825, using the documents to create a romantic hero the nineteenth century. His version of Columbus's life was published in 1829, was incredibly popular, "read with enthusiasm in the United States and participated in a Discoverer idealized image, which has dominated the literature over a century and has not been completely erased. The His surge produced some great love story, a biography more than reasonable. "(Noble 39)

Irving was not only, or in the early Revolutionary Columbus boosters, who created an idealized version of life Explorer. His contemporaries did not agree on the facts of Columbus's life, either. The researchers, however, to discuss issues that may seem to the public in some way already set in stone - what looked like, if you come from the idea of ​​sailing west to reach the east, although what he landed the first time on the island. The confusion began in the first "official" biography "Admiral" to his son, Don Fernando, who was curiously vague in several key areas - such as those mentioned above. Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, Anghiera of Peter Martyr, and Bartolomé de la Casas, all the different points of view of man had become an American hero. Humphrey Gilbert, a citizen of the first British colony in the New World (Sant. John's, Newfoundland, 1583), said Colombo, "by Christopher Columbus famous memory, not only mocked and jeered in general, even here in England, but later became the laughingstock of the Spaniards themselves." (Qtd. noble, 248), and again in 1614, Lope de Vega, Columbus describes the more familiar light. His game El Nuevo Mundo por descubierto Cristobal Colon, Columbus is a "dreamer against the stolid forces rooted in tradition, the man who won the unity of being, the embodiment of that spirit forces to explore and discover. " (Noble, 249), conflicting information, ambiguous disclosure of the biography, and prejudices of the early writers was facilitated by the Americans early to take Columbus and mold for their intended purpose.

"Columbus Irving was a figure of heroic stature, eminently useful to the Americans who tried the first democratic experiment in modern times. Irving was presented to the youth of America as a culture hero inspired by God and sent by God .. . "(Shurr, 237) The view of Columbus as a favorite, overcoming their circumstances and" superior "was particularly resonant of the new republic, and its image as the great explorer, a symbol" of the mind and adventure human avatar western faith "(Noble, 48-9), his reputation seemed to have been guaranteed by the mid-nineteenth century, when the sculptor of the doors of the Capitol in Columbus, Randolph Rogers, said:" Maybe it is that a man [ie, George Washington] whose name is most closely linked to the history of this country deserves better, or a lasting monument to the memory of Christopher Columbus.

Since 1893, the year (a delay) American honor 400 years of Columbus landing (West Indies), Columbus came to the minds of Americans, the first true "father" without problems or conflicts (especially in its treatment of indigenous people he encountered) was dissolved. "Most people live in America, four centuries after the discovery of Travel was established in Columbus, wanted to believe, and were quite satisfied with the invention." (Noble, 258), Amy Leslie, a correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, World's Columbian Exposition, nominally anniversary of Columbus' "discovery" of America. He stressed that he was surprised to see a statue of George Washington's, "which, until Columbus had discovered America, why something happens vehemently held in the hearts of his countrymen.

"(Buck 93) in the United States, because the country was fully embraced the ideals that Columbus was that it was" a symbol of success America ... It 'clear that the show was over the memory of the past, it was also a cry to the future, confident Americans were eager to share and enjoy. "(Noble, 256)

For the fifth centenary of 1992, Christopher Columbus was practically devoid of any positive symbolic meaning. The pendulum has swung, and now "is demystified post-colonial and Columbus. He was stripped of his coat, a symbol of optimism and is exposed as a man whose faults echoes many of the consequences." (Noble, 260) In our multicultural society, and often cynical society, we have created in our image of Columbus. As noted by Noble, "Each generation is back in the past and, based on their own experiences, it means finding models that illuminate the past and present." (XII)

Christopher Columbus was literally in the right place (Spain), at the right time (the dawn of the Age of Discovery) to define its place in history. America was the right place at the right time if necessary, simplify and mold Columbus to reflect the image of an independent and growing in America. Columbus found throughout American popular culture, national commemorations and memory, and clear in the Rotunda of the US Capitol. Roger Randolph massive bronze doors Columbus express this vision of Columbus, the ultimate visual expression of the American self-identity, as expressed in the explorer. He "came from the shadows, reincarnated not so much as a man and a historical figure, it was a myth and symbol. He came to the realization of explorers and discovers the man of vision and daring, the hero who overcame opposition and adversity to change history. "(Noble 249)

"(Fifth Centenary, 10) base its work on the romantic stories of Irving, Rogers depicts a heroic underdog, bold and ingenious explorer, a perfect figure for this age - and to engage in the pantheon of heroes of the America in the temple of legitimacy. Rotonde "Daniel Boorstin noted that people" once believed that their hero "and quoting James Russell Lowell". idol is the measure of worship "Therefore, writers and orators of the nineteenth century ascribed to Columbus all the human virtues that were most popular in the era of geographical and industrial expansion, heady optimism, and an unconditional belief in progress as the dynamics of history. "(Noble, 253)

No comments:

Post a Comment