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Blog Post 09/14- Kayla O’Connell

In the reading “A Kind of Revolution” Howard Zinn discusses the American Revolution. I found this chapter particularly interesting as it created a brand new perspective for me. When discussing important moments in history, we often glorify the leaders, officers, and generals. We often forget to mention the hard working common people & soldiers. We downplay their efforts and create these “god-like” identities for their leaders. As I internally reflect on myself, I realize I have done the same. Throughout my daily life, I catch myself thinking of the leader of the group as more important and worthy than everyone else. Whether it’s a team or another group of people this happens often. 

 

Zinn also mentions the Constitution and the intuition & thoughts behind it. The Constitution failed to represent slaves, indentured servants, women, and men without property. Charles Beard explains that the founding fathers created this document in order to represent their dominant economic interests & intended to serve these interests. Zinn further analyzes the Constitution by saying it, “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). The Constitution created this foundation, yet people are still being treated differently by law enforcement. We claim to be the land of the free, but our own American people are not being treated equally. It is through our actions and desire for change that can create an everlasting impact on our country for the better. 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Madeline Orr Madeline Orr

    I agree that we often glorify the leaders of groups and forget about the common people who often did more work and sacrifice for the cause of the group. This happens throughout many aspects of daily life where we don’t pay much attention to the hardworking efforts of the people “behind the scenes”. This definitely made me realize that I need to think about the whole picture when looking back on moments in history and to acknowledge the people who played important roles in the outcomes. I thought an interesting point from Zinn about the Constitution was that the exclusion of blacks, women, and indigenous peoples and the superiority of the wealthy white people already existed before the Constitution. The separation of the British made it possible to put all of those established roles on paper.

  2. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I also thought that the examination into the point of the Constitution was extremely interesting and upsetting. We have been taught to see those in the Continental Congress or our Founding Fathers as complete revolutionaries, fueled by nothing but the hope for freedom and excitement for the new country (and that they all just happened to also be wealthy). Examining this same section of history from the perspective Zinn has outlined for us, it is so easy to see the economic and power interests in their claim for “Independence”. The upsetting part is that although our government is adapting today, this sounds very similar to some current issues in government.

  3. Alexander Dimedio Alexander Dimedio

    I completely agree with the statements you made in the first paragraph. I think it is very important to see organizations as a group of people collectively working together, rather than a few leaders. This chapter definitely makes me question the legitimacy of the constitution. Should a document written by a group of rich men living with and accepting the institution of slavery still be the major determining factor that runs our country? I really like your analysis of the constitution.

  4. Elina Bhagwat Elina Bhagwat

    The lack of recognition for the common people also stood out to me. It’s so easy for historians to focus on the political elite and wealthy because they were more well known, but the common people are a much better representation of life and sentiments during the American Revolution. This emphasis on the political elite is also shown through Zinn’s analysis of the Constitution where he mentions that the Constitution shows just how complex the American system is. At the same time Zinn discusses how so many groups were left out of the Constitution even though it preaches “equality” and “individuality.”

  5. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    It’s disturbing to think about how the American Revolution, which is like a religion in the United States, was so heavily romanticized by history. The “god-like” figures were, in reality, nothing without the hard working common people supporting them. This example really shows how the leader takes all the glory in the end.

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