Essay on Howard Zinn vs. George Wood

925 Words Apr 27th, 2015 4 Pages
What is Gordon S. Wood’s argument and what is Howard Zinn’s argument on the nature of the American War for Independence and what evidence do the two historians present to support their interpretations? Who do you think presents the better case?
Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn’s argument on the nature of the American War for Independence was the war for independence was not a social revolution. Instead, he argues the colonial elite used the war for their own personal gain in power and status. The wealthy and powerful found a strategy to maintain and even increase their social and political status by leading the war against England and the courtiers associated with England.
One of the major concerns during the time surrounding the War for
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He compares the American Revolution to the French Revolution and other modern revolutions. In his viewpoint he pointed out the conditions after the revolution were not the condition which would have been expected after a revolution. The existence of poverty and economic deprivation were not present in colonial America after the American Revolution. Point after point George S. Wood continually puts the idea of class conflict out of the picture simply by using other revolutions as a comparison.
On one hand, there are historians who depict the War for Independence as conservative because the degree of social misery, economic depravity, people killed, and houses burned does not compare to other revolutions. On the other hand, if the War for Independence is measured by the amount of social change then it would be considered radical. George S. Wood believes the American War for Independence was a radical revolution and often considered one of the greatest revolutions the world has known. Most of the issues, such as class divisions and business exploitation, were thought to be caused by abuses of the government. George S. Wood states in his viewpoint, “It was the Revolution, more than any other single event, that made America into the most liberal, democratic, and modern nation in the world…” (p. 260, para. 3). In the excerpt A True Revolution, Edmund S. Morgan said the American Revolution was not a Marxist

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