An Analysis of A People”s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

A People’s History of the United States is a 1980 non-fiction guide by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn. In the e-book, Zinn seeks to current American historical past through the eyes of the frequent people somewhat than political and economic elites. A People’s History has been assigned as reading in plenty of high faculties and faculties throughout the United States.[1] It has also resulted in a change in the focus of historical work, which now includes tales that beforehand have been ignored.

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[2] The book was a runner-up in 1980 for the National Book Award. It has been incessantly revised, with the latest version masking occasions by way of 2005. In 2003, Zinn was awarded the Prix des Amis du Monde Diplomatique for the French model of this guide, Une histoire populaire des États-Unis.[3]More than two million copies have been bought. Reviews have been combined. Some have referred to as it a superb software for advancing the purpose for social equality.

Others have referred to as the book a revisionist patchwork containing errors.

In a 1998 interview, Zinn stated he had set “quiet revolution” as his objective for writing A People’s History. “Not a revolution within the classical sense of a seizure of power, however rather from folks beginning to take energy from throughout the institutions. In the workplace, the employees would take energy to control the circumstances of their lives.”[4] In 2004, Zinn edited a primary supply companion quantity with Anthony Arnove, entitled, Voices of a People’s History of the United States. Columbus to the Robber Barons

“Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress” covers early Native American civilization in North America and the Bahamas, the genocide and enslavement committed by the crew of Christopher Columbus, and incidents of violent colonization by early settlers.

Topics embrace the Arawaks, Bartolomé de las Casas, the Aztecs, Hernán Cortés,Pizarro, Powhatan, the Pequot, the Narragansett, Metacom, King Philip’s War, and the Iroquois. Chapter 2, “Drawing the Color Line” addresses the early enslavement of Africans and servitude of poor British people within the Thirteen Colonies. Zinn writes of the methods by which he says racism was artificially created to have the ability to enforce the financial system. He argues that racism just isn’t natural because there are recorded cases of camaraderie and cooperation between black slaves and white servants in escaping from and in opposing their subjugation.  “Persons of Mean and Vile Condition” describes Bacon’s Rebellion, the financial circumstances of the poor in the colonies, and opposition to their poverty.

 “Tyranny is Tyranny” covers the movement for “leveling” (economic equality) in the colonies and the causes of the American Revolution. Zinn argues that the Founding Fathers agitated for war to distract the people from their very own financial problems and stop popular movements, a method that he claims the country’s leaders would continue to make use of sooner or later.  “A Kind of Revolution” covers the warfare and resistance to taking part in war, the results on the Native American people, and the continued inequalities within the new United States. When the land of veterans of the Revolutionary War was seized for non-payment of taxes, it led to instances of resistance to the federal government, as in the case of Shays’ Rebellion. Zinn wrote that “governments – including the government of the United States – are not neutral… they symbolize the dominant economic interests, and… their constitutions are intended to serve these pursuits.”

“The Intimately Oppressed” describes resistance to inequalities within the lives of ladies in the early years of the us Zinn tells the stories of ladies who resisted the established order, together with Polly Baker, Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer, Amelia Bloomer, Catharine Beecher, Emma Willard, Harriot Hunt, Elizabeth Blackwell, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Fuller, Sarah Grimké, Angelina Grimké, Dorothea Dix, Frances Wright, Lucretia Mott, and Sojourner Truth. If you look via highschool textbooks and elementary college textbooks in American history, you can see Andrew Jackson the frontiersman, soldier, democrat, man of the individuals — not Jackson the slaveholder, land speculator, executioner of dissident soldiers, exterminator of Indians. Howard Zinn,

A People’s History of the United States
“As Long As Grass Grows or Water Runs” discusses 19th century conflicts between the us authorities and Native Americans (such as the Seminole Wars) and Indian elimination, particularly through the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Chapter eight, “We Take Nothing By Conquest, Thank God” describes the Mexican-American War. Zinn writes that President James Polk agitated for warfare for the aim of imperialism. Zinn argues that the war was unpopular, but that newspapers of that era misrepresented the popular sentiment.  “Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom” addresses slave rebellions, theabolition motion, the Civil War, and the impact of those events on African-Americans. Zinn writes that the large-scale violence of the war was used to end slavery as an alternative of the small-scale violence of the rebellions as a result of the latter may have expanded past anti-slavery, leading to a motion in opposition to the capitalist system.

He writes that the warfare may restrict the freedom granted to African-Americans by allowing the government management over how that freedom was gained.  “The Other Civil War”, covers the Anti-Rent motion, the Dorr Rebellion, the Flour Riot of 1837, the Molly Maguires, the rise of labor unions, the Lowell girlsmovement, and different class struggles centered around the various depressions of the 19th century. He describes the abuse of government energy by corporations and the efforts by employees to resist these abuses. Here is an excerpt on the topic of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877:[10][11] Chapter 11, “Robber Barons and Rebels” covers the rise of business firms such because the railroads and banks and their transformation into the nation’s dominant establishments, with corruption leading to both business and authorities. Also lined are the popular actions and individuals that opposed corruption, such as the Knights of Labor, Edward Bellamy, the Socialist Labor Party, the Haymarket martyrs, the Homestead strikers, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Eugene V. Debs, the American Railway Union, theFarmers’ Alliance, and the Populist Party.

The Twentieth Century

“The Empire and the People”, covers American imperialism during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, in addition to in different lands such asHawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The Teller Amendment. Zinn portrays the wars as being racist and imperialist and opposed by large segments of the American people. Chapter 13, “The Socialist Challenge”, covers the rise of socialism and anarchism as in style political ideologies within the United States. Covered in the chapter are the American Federation of Labor (which Zinn argues offered too unique of a union for non-white, feminine, and unskilled workers; Zinn argues in Chapter 24 that this adjustments in the 1990s),Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, Joe Hill, the Socialist Labor Party, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Progressive Party (which Zinn portrays as pushed by fear of radicalism).

“War is the Health of the State” covers World War I and the anti-war motion that happened throughout it, which was met with the heavily enforced Espionage Act of 1917. Zinn argues that the United States entered the warfare in order to broaden its international markets and economic influence. “Self-Help in Hard Times” covers the government’s marketing campaign to destroy the IWW, and the factors leading to the Great Depression. Zinn states that, despite in style belief, the Nineteen Twenties were not a time of prosperity, and the problems of the Depression had been merely the chronic problems of the poor prolonged to the rest of the society. Also coated is the Communist Party’s makes an attempt to help the poor in the course of the Depression. “A People’s War?”, covers World War II, opposition to it, and the results of the struggle on the people. Zinn, a veteran of the struggle himself, notes that “it was the preferred warfare the US ever fought,” however states that this assist may have been manufactured by way of the institutions of American society.

He cites varied situations of opposition to preventing (in some circumstances larger than those throughout World War I) as proof. Zinn also argues towards the US’ true intention was not combating against systematic racism corresponding to theJim Crow legal guidelines (leading to opposition to the war from African-Americans). Another argument made by Zinn is that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t needed, as the U.S. authorities had already recognized that the Japanese had been considering give up beforehand. Other topics from WWII coated embrace Japanese American internment and the bombing of Dresden. The chapter continues into the Cold War. Here, Zinn writes that the U.S. authorities used the Cold War to extend management over the American individuals (for instance, eliminating such radical elements as the Communist Party) and on the identical time create a state of permanent warfare, which allowed for the creation of the modern military-industrial advanced.

Zinn believes this was possible as a result of each conservatives and liberals willingly labored collectively in the name of anti-Communism. Also lined is the US’ involvement in the Greek Civil War, the Korean War, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and the Marshall Plan. Chapter 17, “‘Or Does It Explode?”” (named after a line from Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem” from “Montage of a Dream Deferred”, referred to as “Lenox Avenue Mural” by Zinn), covers the Civil Rights movement. Zinn argues that the government started making reforms in opposition to discrimination (although with out making basic changes) for the sake of fixing its worldwide image, however often didn’t implement the laws that it handed. Zinn also argues that while nonviolent tactics may have been required for Southern civil rights activists, militant actions (such as those proposed by Malcolm X) had been wanted to solve the problems of black ghettos. Also covered is the involvement of the Communist Party in the movement, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Freedom Riders, COINTELPRO, and the Black Panther Party.

“The Impossible Victory: Vietnam”, covers the Vietnam War and resistance to it. Zinn argues that America was combating a war that it couldn’t win, as the Vietnamese people have been in favor of the federal government of Ho Chi Minh and opposed the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, thus permitting them to maintain morale excessive. Meanwhile, the American military’s morale for the warfare was very low, as many troopers were put off by the atrocities that they were made to take part in, such because the My Lai bloodbath. Zinn additionally tries to dispel the popular belief that opposition to the war was primarily amongst faculty students and middle-class intellectuals, utilizing statistics from the era to show larger opposition from the working class. Zinn argues that the troops themselves also opposed the war, citing desertions and refusals to go to struggle, in addition to movements such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Also covered is the US invasions of Laos and Cambodia, Agent Orange, the Pentagon Papers, Ron Kovic, and raids on draft boards. Chapter 19, “Surprises”, covers different movements that occurred in the course of the 1960s, similar to second-wave feminism, the prison reform/prison abolition movement, the Native American rights movement, and the counterculture. People and events from the feminist motion covered embody Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, Patricia Robinson, the National Domestic Workers Union, National Organization for Women, Roe v. Wade, Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will, and Our Bodies, Ourselves. People and events from the jail movement lined embrace George Jackson, the Attica Prison riots, and Jerry Sousa. People and occasions from the Native American rights movement coated embody the National Indian Youth Council, Sid Mills, Akwesasne Notes, Indians of All Tribes, the First Convocation of American Indian Scholars, Frank James, the American Indian Movement, and the Wounded Knee incident.

People and events from the counterculture lined include Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan,Joan Baez, Malvina Reynolds, Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death, Jonathan Kozol, George Dennison, and Ivan Illich. Chapter 20, “The Seventies: Under Control?”, covers American disillusion with the government through the Seventies and political corruption that was uncovered through the decade. Zinn argues that the resignation of Richard Nixon and the exposure of crimes dedicated by the CIA and FBI through the decade had been accomplished by the government in order to regain help for the government from the American individuals without making elementary adjustments to the system; in accordance with Zinn, Gerald Ford’s presidency continued the identical fundamental policies of the Nixon administration. Other matters lined include protests against the Honeywell Corporation, Angela Davis, Committee to Re-elect the President, the Watergate scandal,International Telephone and Telegraph’s involvement within the 1973 Chilean coup d’état, the Mayagüez incident, Project MKULTRA, the Church Committee, the Pike Committee, theTrilateral Commission’s The Governability of Democracies, and the People’s Bi-Centennial.

“Carter-Reagan-Bush: The Bipartisan Consensus”, covers the Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush administrations and their results on each the American people and foreign nations. Zinn argues that the Democratic and Republican parties keep the government primarily the same (that is, they dealt with the federal government in a way that was favorable for corporations quite than for the people) and continued to have a militant overseas coverage regardless of which get together was in energy. Zinn uses similarities between the three administrations’ methods as proof of this. Other topics lined embrace the Fairness Doctrine, the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, Noam Chomsky, world warming, Roy Benavidez, the Trident submarine, the Star Wars program, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, the Iran-Contra Affair, the War Powers Act, U.S. invasion of Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War, the Invasion of Grenada, Óscar Romero, the El Mozote bloodbath, the 1986 Bombing of Libya, the collapse of the Soviet Union, theUnited States invasion of Panama, and the Gulf War. “The Unreported Resistance”, covers several actions that occurred during the Carter-Reagan-Bush years that were ignored by much of the mainstream media.

Topics coated embody the anti-nuclear motion, the Plowshares Movement, the Council for a Nuclear Weapons Freeze, the Physicians for Social Responsibility, George Kistiakowsky, The Fate of the Earth, Marian Wright Edelman, the Citizens’ Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes, the Three Mile Island accident, the Winooski 44, Abbie Hoffman,Amy Carter, the Piedmont Peace Project, Anne Braden, César Chávez, the United Farm Workers, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Teatro Campesino, LGBT social actions, the Stonewall riots, Food Not Bombs, the anti-war movement through the Gulf War, David Barsamian, opposition to Columbus Day, Indigenous Thought, Rethinking Schools, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. “The Coming Revolt of the Guards”, covers Zinn’s theory on a possible future radical movement against the inequality in America.

Zinn argues that there will finally be a motion made up not solely of previous teams that have been concerned in radical change (such as labor organizers, black radicals, Native Americans, feminists), but in addition members of the middle class who are beginning to turn out to be discontented with the state of the nation. Zinn expects this movement to make use of “demonstrations, marches, civil disobedience; strikes and boycotts and basic strikes; direct motion to redistribute wealth, to reconstruct establishments, to revamp relationships.”[13] Chapter 24, “The Clinton Presidency”, covers the consequences of the Bill Clinton administration on the U.S. and the world. Zinn argues that, despite Clinton’s claims that he would deliver adjustments to the country, his presidency saved many things the identical as in Reagan-Bush era.

Topics coated include Jocelyn Elders, the Waco Siege, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Crime Bill of 1996, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the 1993 bombing of Iraq, Operation Gothic Serpent, the Rwandan Genocide, the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the 1998 bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan, the Impeachment of Bill Clinton, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, Stand for Children, Jesse Jackson, the Million Man March, Mumia Abu-Jamal, John Sweeney, the Service Employees International Union, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, the Worker Rights Consortium, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Spare Change News, theNorth American Street Newspaper Association, the National Coalition for the Homeless, anti-globalization, and WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest exercise.

 “The 2000 Election and the ‘War On Terrorism’”, covers the 2000 presidential election and the War on Terrorism. Zinn argues that assaults on the U.S. by Arabterrorists (such because the September 11, 2001 attacks) are not brought on by a hatred for our freedom (as claimed by President George W. Bush), however by grievances with U.S. international insurance policies corresponding to “stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia… sanctions in opposition to Iraq which… had resulted in the deaths of lots of of thousands of youngsters; the continued U.S. assist of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.” Other subjects covered embody Ralph Nader, the War in Afghanistan, (though notably absent is any point out of the Talibangovernment in control in Afghanistan on the time, the warfare being launched, according to Zinn, based mostly merely on the assumption that bin Laden was hiding within the country) and the USA PATRIOT Act

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