Columbus The Indians And Human Progress Summary

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Arpita Ray Mr. Lifland AP US History 15 August 2015 Chapter 1: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress Bias and point of view often impact one’s perspective on history, as it results in the emphasis on some topics, and the avoidance of others to portray one side in better light. The description of Columbus’s treatment of the Indian tribes, his nature, and his wishes support the idea of emphasis on different aspects of history. To prove this thesis, Zinn describes the reality of Columbus’s goals and motivation. In return for his work, he would receive a portion of the profits made in addition to power over the new area and the fame that he would acquire from his expedition. His true motivations, often avoided when discussing this topic,…show more content…
The use of the African Americans as slaves, the decision to make African Americans slaves, and their treatment all contribute to the concept of racism being implemented by man rather than being a natural part of life. The decisions of the settlers to use slaves in the first place. With the “desperation” of the settlers for “labor,” they made the conscious choice to use slaves to perform any labor needed for them (Zinn 1). The settlers made the choice to use salves, rather than do it themselves, causing it to be implemented into society from there onwards. It became a part of society because of the decisions made, not because it was already in place, or natural. Additionally, the more specific choice to use African Americans as slaves was because of “the impossibility of using Indians and the difficulty of using whites, the availability of blacks offered in greater and greater numbers by profit-seeking dealers in human flesh, and with such blacks possible to control because they had just gone through an ordeal” (Zinn 1). The settlers decided to use what was most convenient to them, again, a selection they made. Finally, their treatment of the African American slaves as cruel and ruthless, for instance packing a large amount of them in a boat for transportation,, further shows the decisions they made for their convenience, showing how racism is not…show more content…
This is proven with the multitudes wish for leveling, or the balancing of the riches, the rich appealing to the middle class, and the growth of the colonies. The settlers want for an equal distribution of wealth shows as one of the main reasons they supported Bacon was because of his “hopes of levelling” (Zinn 1). Many of these people were poor whites, and wanted the wealth to be spread out equally, rather than just to the rich. Additionally, the rich appeal to the middle class to gain their support. For example, James Otis had the ability to appeal to the middle class by “attacking the Troy Thomas Hutchinson” (Zinn 1). The rich use tactics to gain the support of the middle class, but without losing any of their own riches, like wealth or power, for their own gain. It was at the cost of the “slaves, Indians, and poor whites” (Zinn 1). It spared the rich any expenses, but brought them much gain, from the support. Finally, the growth of the colonies positively impacted the rich as well, as they received the profits and benefits from the expansions. With one percent of property owners owning forty four percent of the wealth, it shows how the majority of the wealth was given to the rich, and not distributed among the other classes at all, deepening the division. This is an example of comparison, showing the deep division between the upper class, in contrast to
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