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Free People's History of the United States Essay Sample

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The late Howard Zinn, a professor and post doctoral historian with experience in bombarding by the virtue of participated in many historical events is best suited to narrate the events that happened in the United States.  The author’s intention of narrating Americans’ history is twisted in a series of past historical events involving activities like conquests, slavery and oppressive treatment of common people by intruding visitors. From the era of Columbus to his successors, what he takes us through is a journey of oppressive leaders seeking valuable items and taking the inhabitants as slaves to work in their home country. These historical events were written by other writers upon whom he is making references to this work. His nature of narrating these events seems to criticize the writers too for failing to address key issues of genocide in details; he accuses them for just mentioning these events and taking more interest in what mattered to them at the expense of the vulnerable and innocent. The episodes are unravelled in a chronological order before we are introduced to the events which took place in American land and her people. From the viewpoint of the Arawaks he settles down in telling the story of American discovery, while from the viewpoint of slavery he narrates the constitution. “Other view point he chooses to focus on includes; from the view point of Andrew Jackson as evidenced by the Cherokees, from the viewpoint of the Civil War as was witnessed by the New York Irish, from the viewpoint of the Mexican war as witnessed by the deserting soldiers of Scott's army, from the viewpoint of industrial revolution witnessed by young women working in textile industry, from the viewpoint of Cubans seeing war conflict between the Spaniards and the American, from the world war one that was witnessed by the socialists while the second war as witnessed by the  pacifists and finally from the viewpoint of the post war in the American empire as was witnessed by the peons from the Latinos” (Zinn 1980, pp.163).

Critical summary

This book unravels the events that America has gone through from the year 1492 to the time Bill Clinton became the president, what we are taken through is a series of happenings that elapsed within this time span. But first the author introduces to us events that he uses to resemble these events with. The story is therefore, developed based on these events. His view point in telling the history of America is different, he uses communities in his context and would rather not prefer to be based on family because he feels a family based history would conceal a lot of fierce conflicts of interest which would sometimes explode between those who are conquered and the conquerors between the slaves and their masters, those who have been dominated against the dominators as well as between the workers and their capitalists (Zinn 1980, pp.248-251). He uses an ideological choice as a tool for contending social classes’ race and nations to bring forth the emphasis of what was neglected by the past heroes; to them what mattered was heroism as opposed to the genocide.

The first segment entitled, Columbus, the Indians and the Human progress he brings forth the ego that conquerors had when seeking valuables, from the very first time of Columbus to his predecessors, to him these episodes are key in telling the history of the United States because he bases his arguments from such events and what happed thereafter.  This is the basis upon which other histories in the book are developed, because the event seems to share slavery and other oppressive deeds as he clearly put them across. The second session in this book titled ‘Drawing the colour line’ introduces to us the events that happed in North America. The writer narrates about the episodes of slavery development that were mainly based on the race, where he believes there is no any other country in the world where racism has never had a big impact like the United States- he goes ahead to says that the impact is there up to now. The evidence he uses to justify these allegations are concrete in that they depicts the truth behind his assertions. Some of these evidences are related to how these slaves were mistreated in terms of cruel laws imposed on them, lack of food and other necessities, but most importantly is the misuse of fire arms to massacre the defiant communities who refused to obey the Europeans harsh laws (Zinn 1980).

The third part titled ‘Persons of Mean and vile condition’ he unfolds the oppressive and highly developed slavery in the North America. What we see are the leaders who take advantage of these events to foster their ego. From the Indian slavery to the importation of the black servants who later on turned to be slaves. These events are unfolded in a clear and just manner to actually bring forth how the America of today became into existence with its multiracial nature and diverse communal origin. The writer also tells us the rules imposed on these people for instance they were not allowed to marry without permission; they could be beaten for various offences as well as being separated from their families (Zinn 1980).

The time colonial rule came into force some of these rules were modulated but not enforced. The evidences used to bring forth the studies on servants are not only well presented but also justifiable. “From the time the British colony took full control they decided to create a nation with a symbol and named it the United States, in so doing they realized they could amass land, profits and other powers associated with this acquisition” (Zinn 1980, pp.369).  This was the beginning of America revolution to what it is today. Several uprising took place from that time yearning for change, and these have since been emulated to what has been happening recently. This revolution was of important to the American people because they felt they had been ignored by the fine words of the declaration which was not considered on an equal ground (Zinn 1980).

The author takes us through events that were eager for change and how they managed to force their way through the difficult events. These events were mainly based in different cities although they had a common goal of changing the oppressive laws imposed by the colonial government. The evidence used by the writer is also justifiable. What he takes us through is the revolutions that lead to the development of the military to fight the British colony out, from the time America lost her first war to the colony in places like Brooklyn and its neighbourhood but also won small battles at Trenton and Princeton. The turning point took place when they won a big battle at Saratoga, New York (Zinn 1980).

These events lead to twist in events that called for a change in the constitution. All the states had to experience this, but what happed thereafter was not different from what was already there. The drafted constitution had no much difference from the old one (Zinn 1980, pp.411).

This revolution was thought to have brought a lot of significant chances in the social lives of Americans, for instance it was thought to have separated the church from the state. Though other issues of land ownership also played a major role, where most leaders within the revolution were after land grabbing at the expense of those who fought for freedom. The sources that the writer uses to justify these events and how he compares them with the history of the United States are all genuine and worthwhile.

Style

The author has made his historical narrative to be so hard for young readers, his choice of words and how he organize the fluency on the same is quite difficult to keep someone glued to his work. He most frequently make allusion to what was written by other writers by direct referencing without paraphrasing the episodes, the kind of words choice and their organization in the entire sentence is also wanting. There are no proper sentence structures, some sentences are too long, and some are as long as fifty words. This can be so hard to comprehend when reading. His wit is good, he critically examines how the past writers evaded mentioning events that are of importance in this historical events by just mentioning and them taking most time to go through what mattered the most to them. Unfortunately the writer does did not find it important to employ the usage of visual aids like photos, charts tables and figures in his work, although there are certain incidents where he could have appropriately used some of these aids to make his work more enjoyable to read.

Conclusion

The author of this book presents the events that he relates to the history of the people of the United States. He uses justifiable and concrete events that actually took place from various eras and how its people evolved from time to time to yearn for change of such events.  These choices therefore fit well into the topic because the events brought forward are actually what took place. His presentation also presents what was ignored by some other writers who only wanted to feature what mattered to them, he brings forth what was ignored by such writers, and in so doing he clarifies the viewpoints that have been discussed. The author did exactly what he intended to; clearly he narrated most of the happenings that America has gone through. This books is however not suitable for all the audience, I would recommend it for mature literature students and scholars with in dept command of English language because the language employed is difficult for any reader to comprehend.

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