Howard Zinn, A People’s History Assignment

The Text: Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States 1492-Present

• A copy is
available online via:

Assignment Instructions:

Read the selected chapters of the text (CHAPTERS 1 – 9)

  Respond to all the
questions for each chapter in complete sentences. ( 10 questions total)

  Make sure your
responses are in order by chapter.  Each response should fully address the
question—even if it takes 1-3 paragraphs, you need to address the question.

Chapter 1:
Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress

Why did Zinn choose to write this book
and take the perspective that he has?

2.  According to
Zinn, what is the sacrifice of human progress?

Chapter 2:
Drawing the Color Line

How did slavery develop? How did racism
develop along with it?

Why was it feared that whites would join
slave revolts? How was this prevented?

Chapter 3:
Persons of Mean and Vile Condition

1. Analyze the statement “It seems quite clear that
class lines hardened through the colonial period; the distinction between rich
and poor became sharper.” (Describe the role and makeup of the elite, middle
and lower classes and how the upper classes maintained control.)

Chapter 4:
Tyranny is Tyranny

Explain the phrase “Tyranny is tyranny let it come from whom it may” by using
the evidence that Zinn offers throughout the chapter.

Chapter 5: A
Kind of Revolution

How did the various groups in colonial society respond to the movement for
Revolution and how did the war add to the conflict between the rich and poor?

Chapter 6: The
Intimately Oppressed

were the lives of early American women different from the lives of women who
came to the Americas from Europe?

7: As Long as Grass Grows or Water Runs

In your opinion, was removal of Native Americans necessary for the progress of
American civilization? In other words, did the end justify the means? Make sure
you engage with the text to support your ideas.

Chapter 8:
Chapter 9: Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom

How does Zinn argue that the Civil War was not really fought over the moral
issue of slavery, but rather the economic issue of slavery?

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