Howard Zinn Analysis

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Ashna Mehrotra Mr. Lifland AP U.S. History August 15, 2015 A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn Chapter One- Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress Zinn believes that history is being told incorrectly, as it is favored towards the prominent figures of that time. As evidence to prove this, Zinn uses Columbus’s exploration. Zinn proves that “to emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done”, and he states that “we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. . . [as] it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality.…show more content…
. . he concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage ‘as much gold as they need ... and as many slaves as they ask’" (Zinn). Therefore, although Columbus is credited for the founding of America, Zinn proves his heroic actions can be hindered by his violence towards the Awracks; however, when Columbus is mentioned in history, he is often given a positive and heroic characteristic. However, Columbus and the Europeans committed a lot of genocide when conquering the Native American land. Throughout this chapter, Zinn uses historical causation as he argues about the fact that Columbus mistreated the Indians. Additionally, Zinn discusses the effects of this mistreatment, which was the suffering of Indians and the success of Columbus in the short term; in the long term, it was the extinction of the Indian tribes. Chapter Two- Drawing the Color Line Zinn provides the reader with evidence on how racism prevailed during the revolution and proves that racism was the result of many historical events which had caused brutal slavery. Zinn proved this by declaring that “some historians think those first…show more content…
Therefore, the elites could more easily condescend the servants, and keep their superiority. To add on, Zinn used testomonial evidence to back his thesis, as he described that “one observer testified:’"I have seen an Overseer beat a Servant with a cane about the head till the blood has followed, for a fault that is not worth the speaking of...." The Maryland court records showed many servant suicides. In 1671, Governor Berkeley of Virginia reported that in previous years four of five servants died of disease after their arrival. Many were poor children, gathered up by the hundreds on the streets of English cities and sent to Virginia to work’” (Zinn). Zinn uses this to effectively portray the mistreatment, and separation of the classes. Throughout this chapter, Zinn uses historical argumentation as he argues how each circumstance led to more racism, and separation of the classes. This consequently raises doubts about the past, as it questions how the upper and lower classes
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