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

By Howard Zinn

Identified for its energetic, transparent prose in addition to its scholarly examine, A People's historical past of the United States is the single quantity to inform America's tale from the perspective of -- and within the phrases of -- America's girls, manufacturing facility staff, African americans, local american citizens, operating bad, and immigrant employees.

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As Edmund Morgan sees it: There are hints that the two despised groups initially saw each other as sharing the same predicament. It was common, for example, for servants and slaves to run away together, steal hogs together, get drunk together. It was not uncommon for them to make love together. In Bacon's Rebellion, one of the last groups to surrender was a mixed band of eighty negroes and twenty English servants. As Morgan says, masters, "initially at least, perceived slaves in much the same way they had always perceived servants ...

This was Bacon's Rebellion. After the uprising was suppressed, its leader, Nathaniel Bacon, dead, and his associates hanged, Bacon was described in a Royal Commission report: He was said to be about four or five and thirty years of age, indifferent tall but slender, black-hair'd and of an ominous, pensive, melancholly Aspect, of a pestilent and prevalent Logical discourse tending to atheisme... He seduced the Vulgar and most ignorant people to believe (two thirds of each county being of that Sort) Soc that their whole hearts and hopes were set now upon Bacon.

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?

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