Read e-book online A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present PDF

By Howard Zinn

ISBN-10: 0060528370

ISBN-13: 9780060528379

Recognized for its full of life, transparent prose in addition to its scholarly examine, A People's background of the United States is the single quantity to inform America's tale from the perspective of -- and within the phrases of -- America's ladies, manufacturing facility employees, African americans, local american citizens, operating bad, and immigrant employees.

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Additional info for A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present

Sample text

More than half the colonists who came to the North American shores in the colonial period came as servants. They were mostly English in the seventeenth century, Irish and German in the eighteenth century. More and more, slaves replaced them, as they ran away to freedom or finished their time, but as late as 1755, white servants made up 10 percent of the population of Maryland. What happened to these servants after they became free? There are cheerful accounts in which they rise to prosperity, becoming landowners and important figures.

With the problem of Indian hostility, and the danger of slave revolts, the colonial elite had to consider the class anger of poor whites-servants, tenants, the city poor, the propertyless, the taxpayer, the soldier and sailor. As the colonies passed their hundredth year and went into the middle of the 1700s, as the gap between rich and poor widened, as violence and the threat of violence increased, the problem of control became more serious. What if these different despised groups-the Indians, the slaves, the poor whites-should combine?

James Madison told a British visitor shortly after the American Revolution that he could make $257 on every Negro in a year, and spend only $12 or $13 on his keep. Another viewpoint was of slaveowner Landon Carter, writing about fifty years earlier, complaining that his slaves so neglected their work and were so uncooperative ("either cannot or will not work") that he began to wonder if keeping them was worthwhile. " But looking at the totality of slave behavior, at the resistance of everyday life, from quiet noncooperation in work to running away, the picture becomes different.

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A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn


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