A People´s History, And A People's History By Howard Zinn

1238 Words 5 Pages
Though Columbus did not discover the New World; the European exploration of the Americas began with his search for a new ocean route to the East Indies. Instead of discovering this route, he found a place entirely new to Europeans; this is why they referred to it as the New World. This, of course, lead to the Europeans settling in these areas and conquering the native peoples in order to pursue their three main incentives; god, gold, and glory. Different historians have varying takes on exactly how the Europeans went about doing this. Howard Zinn begins his “A People’s History” by alleging that Columbus and other Europeans tortured and killed the Native Americans with the sole purpose of obtaining gold and other valuable resources. In contrast, …show more content…
He takes a different spin on this time in history; calling out Europeans for torturing and killing the Native American people for gold and resources. Zinn also points out the beginnings of institutionalized racism in the Americas. He explains that the reason why he expresses this history in this way is because for a long time this genocide has been ignored, and people need to see it for what it is. Zinn states, “…the treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks)…acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress…the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors…as if they…represent the nation as a whole…” (Zinn 9). Zinn feels that the Europeans who have conquered these lands praise the so-called “heroes” like Columbus and Las Casas in order to justify the genocide that they caused. They focus on telling the accomplishments of these people in order to make their actions seem …show more content…
Hernan Cortés wrote a letter describing the religion of the indigenous people he conquered, he focuses on their sacrifice rituals which Allen and Schweikart highlighted in their own writings. Cortés states, “…they take many boys or girls, and even grown men and women… take out the hearts and entrails, and burn the said entrails and hearts before the idols, offering that smoke in sacrifice… of us who have seen this say that it is the most terrible and frightful thing to behold…” (Document 2). This description from the writing of Cortés himself greatly supports “A Patriot’s History”. By detailing the gruesome rituals of the Aztecs, it becomes easier to understand why Cortés would want to conquer and destroy

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