A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Chapter 1: Summary

20 Feb

Title: “Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress”

Summary: The Europeans came to the Americas in search of slaves and gold and brutally killed almost all the Indians, who according to many accounts were a peaceful and generous people.


  • “… it is enough to make us question, for that time and ours, the excuse of progress in the annihilation of races, and the telling of history from the standpoint of the conquerors and leaders of Western civilization.”
  • “My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.”
  • “I will try not to overlook the cruelties that victims inflict on one another as they are jammed together in the boxcars of the system. I don’t want to romanticize them. But I do remember (in rough paraphrase) a statement I once read: ‘The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.'”

Thoughts: For the most part, history is just a matter of perspective, mostly that of the historian recording it. It is near impossible for an historical account to be 100% free of bias, especially if the historian has a point to prove.


6 Responses to “A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Chapter 1: Summary”

  1. Anonymous Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    lame !

    • Anonymous Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 6:53 pm #


  2. turnonfun Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm #


  3. Anonymous Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    u should make ur summary longer, i want to pass that quiz for school! lol

    • Anonymous Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      then maybe you should read the fucking chapter…

  4. Laura Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    The comments on this post crack me up. This was not meant to be a serious chapter summary. Sorry. Read the book. 🙂

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