Aaron Goodrich served as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court from May 1849 to October 1852, when he was dismissed by President Millard Fillmore. He remained in Minnesota and was active in the Republican Party. In 1859 he and Carl Schurz campaigned for the Republican ticket in Minnesota. During their travels, Goodrich told Schurz about a book he planned to write. In his autobiography, published posthumously in 1907, Schurz recalled Goodrich's scheme:
"As we became better acquainted he began to confide to me the favorite trend of his studies. It was the discovery and unmasking of sham characters in history. He had, upon close investigation, found that some men whom conventional history called very good and great, had not been good and great at all, and did not deserve the credit which for centuries had, by common consent, been bestowed upon them, but that, in fact, that credit and praise belonged to others. His pet aversion was Christopher Columbus. His researches and studies had convinced him that Christopher Columbus had made his voyage of discovery according to the log-book of a shipwrecked seaman who had sought shelter with him, whom he had treacherously murdered, and whose belongings he had made his own. Judge Goodrich told me long stories of the misdeeds of Christopher Columbus which he had found out in their true character. He spoke of the so-called 'Great Discoverer of the New World' with intense indignation, and denounced him as an assassin, a hypocrite and false pretender, a cruel tyrant, and a downright pirate. He was industriously pursuing his inquiries concerning that infamous person, and he was going to expose the fraud in a book which he hoped to publish before long."
Fifteen years later, Goodrich published his exposé of the "so-called Christopher Columbus." He sent a copy to Schurz, who described it as "a book full of ingenious ratiocination and righteous wrath."
It is long, difficult to read and is posted here.