Name: ____________________________________________ Date: ______________ Class:___
Socratic Seminar Prompts:
Directions: Reflect on these questions as you read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States,
“Columbus Meets the Natives”, and the Book Review from 1992. On a separate sheet of paper, type up
a set of bulleted response points for each question! Include quotes (no more than three lines of direct
quotations), paraphrased main ideas, and the pages on which they can be found. Come prepared to
share, challenge, and discuss next class. Remember, textual support is a MUST in Socratic discussions.
1. What factors motivated Columbus’ exploration? Would treatment of indigenous peoples have
been different if the conquistadors (Spanish) were motivated differently?
2. Describe the consequences of exploration in the Americas. Were these consequences
inevitable? How might the course of history have been re-written?
3. How did a clash of worldviews (European and Native American) contribute to the subjugation of
indigenous people by the Spanish?
4. Which factor was most important in facilitating an “easy” European conquest of the New
5. Do you think Columbus is a hero or a villain? Should Columbus be held responsible for the
actions of his men?
6. Some people consider the Columbian Exchange to be a “tsunami of unintentional bioterrorism.”
Evaluate the validity of that statement, and support your view with textual evidence.