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Margot’s Blog Post 9/14

I am forever startled by the greediness of human nature. When people are given a chance they always seem to choose themselves over the greater community. That is why this quote stuck out to me as a perfect synopsis of American history. Zinn said, “Indeed this became the characteristic of the new nation: finding itself possessed enormous wealth, it could create the richest ruling class in history, and still have enough for the middle class to act as a buffer between the rich and the dispossessed.” This quote opened my eyes to the reality of the American Revolution, and it wasn’t about freedom it was about economic control.

With this realization in mind, it is crazy to think about how much of history may have been rewritten to be the perfect narrative. If the American Revolution can be rewritten to become about a small group of revolutionaries who believed in democracy and wanted to fight against the elite who taxed them without representation. These same men turn around and crush shays rebellion. These supposed insurgents quickly become the regulators and they are quite good at their jobs because they put systems in place that no one has been able to rise up and overthrow to this day.

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6 Comments

  1. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    I agree with your point about how crazy it is that people will always choose themselves. This reminds me of our class discussion about potlatch culture. After discussing how we are a capitalist country and that we don’t have a potlatch culture, I wondered why we don’t give to those ho have less than us. While it is a good thing and we praise people who do, it doesn’t happen enough because we aren’t required to.

  2. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    It is interesting that America’s history has portrayed America as a nation of democracy and revolutions, yet most of the time the people in power are trying to squander the rebellions and not let the oppressed be heard. I see it in the BLM movement happening now, there are protests going on, but are the people in power really listening to what they have to say? Will they implement any change that we are demanding? The same could be seen with shay’s rebellions that the elite crushed, so they could keep their power.

  3. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    To add to this, not only was economic control a great concern in the development of the colonies, but the keeping of the class system and maintaining the divide. What stuck out to me the most was that when the colonies needed people to fight England, the first men recruited to the milita were “hallmarks of respectability or at least of full citizenship”. However when they became desperate because there were not enough people to fight they began recruiting the “less respectable whites”. I found it almost appalling that people were even being discriminating against in going to war. I then ask, what else were people who were non-citizens keep from that we wouldn’t think?

  4. Alexander Dimedio Alexander Dimedio

    I completely agree with this post, and I too have been getting fed up thinking about the glorified success story I was taught about America. As history gets passed down it often gets shifted to be about what people want to hear. I think over the years the rewritten parts of the story are unfortunately the most important parts. The parts of history that will help America avoid making these horrible mistakes again.

  5. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I agree and disagree with what you said. I think today individuals, regardless of class or money, have a much better chance of rising up and/or having their voice heard by politicians/the rich compared to even just half a century ago. What I do think is crazy is how much of colonial politics was centered around power and security for the rich. History was written so that future generations saw these men as self-empowered, liberty-loving freedom fighters, but it was based really on economic power and longevity of the rich. The quote that really stuck with me about this idea was “ruling elites must have learned that war makes them more secure against internal trouble”. Meaning if the rich keep everyone else occupied through fighting, they can continue making the majority of decisions in their favor, which is crazy.

  6. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    This book (and class) has done a very good job of ripping up my elementary school history notes. We were taught the bare minimum, glorified and glossed over version of many historical events. And why? Because some people had more money, better titles, etc than others. I agree with your statement “history may have been rewritten to be the perfect narrative.” You can see this in everything we have gone over in this class so far, and I’m assuming everything we will learn in the months to come.

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