A People's History of the United States, Present. By Howard They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they. Fourth impression British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data. Zinn, Howard. A people's history of the United States. 1. United States-History. I. Title. A people's history of the United States - Howard Zinn. A people's history of the A People's History of the Unite - Howard terney.info, MB.
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1* c w A PEOPLE'S HISTORY o i' t ii e UNITED STATES i □ i n r r =- p e k r m-h i • 1 □□ class □ rs HOWARD ZINN terney.info A People's History of the . “It's a wonderful, splendid book—a book that should be read by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and. A People's History of the United States - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Wikipedia review of Howard Zinn's A .
Certainly, I am not of the camp who believes the US to be some sort of 'World Hero', that we are justified in policing the world, or in enforcing our ideals upon other nations, but neither do I download the image Zinn paints of the US as a hand-wringing Disney villain that ruins everything it touches--the real truth of the matter is somewhere in between.
Some things which the US has done, such as our interference in Afghanistan--well on its way to becoming a modernized, self-sustaining nation in the midth Century--tearing down its government, arming its warlords, and making it the staging ground for our Cold War battles with Russia--are awful examples of selfishness forced upon the world. The actions of our government and intelligence community there were not for the greater good, they were at the expense of the Afghans to our own benefit, and there are many such damning examples, but to focus solely on them is just as bad as ignoring them entirely.
Zinn has received much credit for revealing truth, for reinvigorating our education system and our view of history, but honestly, his work was a bit late for that--already, such diverse perspectives were emerging, and while it took some time for them to trickle down to Middle Schools and the public consciousness, nothing in his book was a revelation to devoted students of history.
Even those historians who were sympathetic to minority experiences and opposed to the white-washing of history tended to condemn Zinn for cobbling together a poorly-researched work which took only those parts that were convenient to his thesis and left out all else--and beyond that, twisting and misrepresenting his sources to his own ends.
But his work is sensationalistic, and work of that sort has a way of finding its way into popular discussion, whether it is accurate or not. His opponents can cite him of an example of 'all that is wrong with that point of view', while his supporters are attracted by the fact that his work tends to cast as the true heroes of history the uninvolved thinker, the academic who talks a great deal, attends protests, but does not get his own hands dirty, since in Zinn's approach, to interact directly with the imperfect world is to sully one's self.
In the s, workers began to see how powerful striking was as a tactic — but not all strikes are successful. In fact, some end in tragedy.
For instance, during , , railroad workers went on strike against lethal conditions and rock-bottom wages. The government called in 9, National Guard troops and, in the end, workers were killed.
While the strike eventually held back a proposed wage cut, the real benefit of the action was the media coverage that the tragedy produced. It sent a signal to workers across the country that they needed to amass greater collective power to avoid such massacres.
At the time, many unions were founded on socialist or communist ideals. Many other unions were formed around similar anticapitalist ideas, which is part of why the establishment was so opposed to them.
But the biggest threat of the day came from a truly radical socialist union called the Industrial Workers of the World or the IWW.
Unlike other labor unions, the IWW was open to all workers, regardless of race, gender or skill. Its cofounder and longtime leader, Eugene Debs, went on to run for president on multiple occasions, under the banner of the Socialist Party of America, which formed near the turn of the century.
The IWW itself gave a voice to the poorest of workers, like the striking mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, who came from highly diverse backgrounds. They were Irish, Syrian, Polish, Russian and Belgian immigrants who were already struggling to feed their families even before wage cuts were announced in January In response, IWW organizers quickly arrived on the scene, helping the workers strike by organizing marches, setting up soup kitchens and raising money.
The IWW brought the workers through a month-long strike before the town government got the police and militia to break it. Well, Woodrow Wilson claimed it was because the Germans sunk the Lusitania, an ocean liner that was carrying American passengers. To put it differently, WWI was a powerful tool to open up foreign markets to major corporations that were central to the ruling elite. Rather than upholding so-called American values like freedom, the Espionage Act, which was passed during WWI, made it a crime to speak against the war or publish antiwar literature, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Or take the Conscription Act, which empowered the government to draft people into the army. For instance, when black soldiers were sent to Europe on the Queen Mary, they were stowed in the bottom of the boat, right next to the engine. Was the treatment of African-Americans much different than the rampant anti-Semitism that existed in Germany at the time?
As it turns out, the president at the time, Franklin D.
Prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States had imposed serious economic sanctions on Japan, in addition to embargos on iron and oil that threatened the very existence of the island nation. All of these steps were taken in response to Japanese actions in the southwest Pacific that interfered with US imports. In fact, just two weeks before Pearl Harbor, there was a meeting at the White House about how to justify a war with Japan to the American people.
This time, the US economy benefited so dramatically from the intervention that people began tinkering with the idea of permanently being at war just to benefit corporations. So, the war effort clearly benefited some, but who specifically? Well, although 2, companies submitted bids for military contracts, just 56 major corporations were awarded them.
Following the Second World War, the military budget remained at wartime levels. This massive expenditure was justified by threats from Russia, Korea and Vietnam, and was used to funnel billions of dollars into a handful of corporations to produce and stockpile absurd quantities of weapons.
The climate of the time was rife with fabricated threats of communism, and the defense budget soared because of it.
In August , he claimed that the North Vietnamese had attacked US military boats stationed in international waters. What had actually happened was that the CIA attacked a North Vietnamese military installation while in Vietnamese waters. Meanwhile, a steady stream of Vietnamese atrocities filtered into the American consciousness through the news media, laying the backdrop for the many protests of the s. One of the most horrifying was a New York Times report on the horrific episode at the My Lai 4 village.
In this massacre, some to people, many of them children, women and elderly, were executed and dumped into a mass grave. Over the course of the war, 7 million tons of explosives were dropped on an area not much larger than the state of Massachusetts. Not even Buddhist temples were spared the inhumane destruction of bombardment and chemical warfare.
Such a concentrated degree of bombardment had never been seen before in human history, and the terrifying nature of the war in Vietnam spurred an increasingly large antiwar movement on US soil.
For instance, in , people turned out to an antiwar demonstration in the Boston Commons; in , , people showed up to the same spot, while 2 million others participated in protests across the country. The Civil Rights movement, an iconic era of American social change, had been brewing for generations when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Her simple action ignited a bus boycott and a much broader social movement.
Sadly, the moment that has conventionally been seen as the peak of the civil rights movement was itself an example of the US government exerting its power.
The demonstration drew , people, black and white, from all sectors of society. What began as an enraged demand for human rights ended with a family-friendly picnic and government cooptation.
Unsurprisingly, six years of government inaction followed the rally, as countless black people died at the hands of police and lynch mobs. And when legislation was finally passed, it was still discriminatory. By , following such brutality, black people were disillusioned and many were abandoning the idea of nonviolence, as well as the hope that the United States could meet love with love. That year witnessed the largest urban riots in history, leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in This legislation was supposed to strengthen antidiscrimination laws.
However, there was an important exception in the law. Tyranny is Tyranny 5. A Kind of Revolution 6.
The Intimately Oppressed 7. The Other Civil War Robber Barons And Rebels The Empire and the People The Socialist Challenge War Is the Health of the State Self-help in Hard Times A People's War? The Impossible Victory: Vietnam Surprises The Seventies: Under Control? The Bipartisan Consensus