Howard Zinn Essay

1928 Words Mar 10th, 2015 8 Pages
(Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States")

Chapter 1: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress

The beginning chapter covers early Native American civilization in North America and the Bahamas, the genocide and enslavement committed by the crew of Christopher Columbus (to the West Indies), and incidents of violent colonization by early settlers. The native inhabitants, Arawak Indians, swam out to greet the European boats the first time they landed. Zinn cites Columbus' journal entries throughout the chapters, which included his reaction to the initial encounter with the Arawaks: 'They would make fine servants...With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.' This attitude ultimately led to
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A young priest, who later became a bishop, named Bartolome de las Casas came along with this new "exploration" to the West Indies, and he took notice of the great evils that were occuring to the Native Americans and documented them so that those in the future would know the truth. His writings conclude that in the years 1494-1508, over three million native lives were killed on the island of Hispaniola from slavery, war, and mining. The invasion of the West Indies resulted in history's greatest genocide.

Chapter 2: Drawing the Color Line
This chapter addresses the early enslavement of Africans and servitude of poor British people in the Thirteen Colonies. Zinn writes of the methods by which he says racism was artificially created in order to enforce the economic system. He argues throughout that racism is unnatural because there are recorded instances of camaraderie and cooperation between black slaves and white servants in escaping from and in opposing their subjugation. A complex series of events drove English American settlers to acquire African slaves. Desperate for labor in order to grow food for colonists became overwhelming. This especially pertained to Virginia colonists during "starving time" when settlers, crazed for food could be driven to dig up corpses or roam the woods all in search for food and resources. The number of

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