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Julia Borger Blog Post for 9/14

After reading the chapter “A Kind of Revolution” in our text, I felt like I had just read the transcript for one of John Green’s Crash Course history videos. Although a little overwhelmed with all the information, I now feel like I have a good base of the background history of the US during the later 1700s, even though I did take AP US History junior year and it was giving me not-so friendly flashbacks. Although much of the information I had learned about before, I felt like the facts were not just facts, but part of a story due to the conversational tone of the writing, which I really enjoyed.

One part that really stood out to me from this chapter was when it was highlighting how the Revolution started to create a space for blacks to start making demands of white society, and the author includes a excerpt from Benjamin Banneker who was appointed to plan the new city of Washington. I thought his phrase, “…One universal Father hath given being to us all; and that he hath not only made us all one flesh, but that he hath also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same facilities…” was extremely powerful and was definitely a big stepping stone in gaining rights for the blacks (89).

I also found many of the statistical information astonishing. I could not believe during the Revolutionary period, 1/3 of the population were small farmers, while only 3% of the population had large holdings and could be considered wealthy. In addition, the fact that in Maryland to run for governor one had to own 5,000 pounds of property, or 1,000 pounds for senator, which excluded 90% of the population from office. I always knew about the large gap between the elite holding all the cards and everyone else in society, but I don’t think I ever realized how far the gap widened and just how much the wealthy did control, with so little people.

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2 Comments

  1. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    I agree with you that reading this chapter felt like the facts were more than facts. I also thought it felt conversational in the sense that I felt like I was being told a story. I also felt it was more detailed and truthful history. For example, I have learned about the constitution obviously, but in this chapter Zinn writes that the constitution, “illustrates the complexity of the American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers, to build a broad base of support” (99). This to me was a different take on the constitution than I’d ever been taught, and I liked reading about a deeper definition of it.

  2. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    I agree with you that I also found the statistics Zinn laid out to be surprising. I am from Maryland and I never learned that during these times MD had laws that only allowed people with a certain amount of money in land to run for specific positions. This makes me wonder what else MD did as a state to reinforce the divide between the wealthy and the middle and lower classes. Zinn does a good job of reinforcing the idea that many things states or governments did during these times were made to seem helpful and appeal to the lower and working class, when in reality everything was for the benefit of the wealthy. This was something I was never taught when learning about the Revolution.

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