I've read literature by the Lyndon LaRouche organization [LLO] that says Columbus was part of a group of Renaissance progressives who favored republican forms of government. They had some success when Henry the 7th of England and Louis 11th of France gave support to such principles, which claimed that the purpose of government is to benefit all of the people of a nation. But, after such successes, the Venetians and the papacy determined to stop that movement via wars and various forms of oppression. When the republican movement came up against stiff resistance in Europe, this group determined to try to establish republicanism elsewhere, where the European powers could not thwart their efforts so easily.
In the Geochronology section at Accurate Acient Maps I copied excerpts from a website that lists many or all of the known ancient maps that appear to be highly accurate and produced at a time when there was advanced knowledge and technology, viz. around 2,400 BC. The group that Columbus was associated with apparently had one or more of these maps, so they also apparently concluded that lands across the Atlantic might be the best hope for republicanism.
The LLO says that Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa was the primary leader of the republican movement, which promoted both government and science for the common good. The Massachusetts colony became the republican vanguard in America.