Howard Zinn: A People’s History of the United States This book explains the history of America starting from 1492 until the present. The history is told from the common people’s point of view. During my presentation I summarized chapters six through ten. Chapter six was titled “The Intimately Oppressed” and it refers to the inequalities in the lives of women during and after the revolution. Even though African American women had it the hardest, he referred to more women such as Caucasian, Native American and European women.
African American women did more hard labor and were often sexually abused. In the early years women were used primarily as sex slaves, child bearers and companions. Anne Hutchinson was a good speaker and held meetings that many women and a few men attended. She ended up being banished from her colony because the government felt that she was challenging their authority and the church for heresy. A woman’s job during this era was to maintain religion, cook, clean and anything else that involved house duties or tending to their husband or children.
Chapter 7 was titled “As Long as Grass Grows or Water Runs” and it refers to how the Indians were the most foreign. Land between the Appalachians and Mississippi were cleared for white occupancy. They had called it the Indian removal. In the south it was cleared for cotton and in the north it was cleared for grain. Indians had fought alongside the British during the Revolutionary war, but since they were already on their own land, they kept fighting after the British had left.
The Indians had to deal with a lot of mistreatment from the government and they made them feel as if they were aliens on their own land. Chapter 8 was titled “We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God” and it refers to the Mexican-American war. He states that the reality of the war was much different from what the historians have portrayed it to be. James Polk, who was the president at the time, had misrepresented the conflicting response to the war and the newspapers supported his actions.
The soldiers that did not have much were preyed upon their distresses. When the soldiers had returned home from fighting in the war, speculators had showed up to buy the land warrants that was given to them by the government. The soldiers were so desperate for money that they ended up taking whatever they could get, even if it meant getting shorted. Chapter nine was titled “Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom” and refers to how the government had supported slavery because it was profitable for them.
John Little was a slave and these were his words, “They say slaves are happy because they laugh and are merry. I myself and three or four others, have received two hundred lashes in the day and had our feet in fetters, yet at night we would sing and dance. ” Zinn believes that racism and slavery was created to enforce the economic system. He believes racism is not natural because of problems between slaves and servants. The production of cotton was growing every year because the capture of slaves had reached to about 4 million.
Conspiracies and slave rebellions had developed a network of controls in the southern states, hacked by laws, armed forces, courts and race prejudice of the nation’s political leaders. He stated that to end such a deeply entrenched system that it would either take a full-scale slave rebellion or a full-scale war. Chapter ten was titled “The Other Civil War” and it refers to Anti-rent movement. The tenants agreed not to pay any more rent to the Rensselaer estate until they could be redressed of their grievances. The tenants felt that they were doing to their landlord what he had done to them for a long time.