Chapter Six in A People’s History of the United States was very interesting particularly because of the various topics that were discussed. The chapter talked about topics such as Africans in the Americas, building the Continental Army, running for political positions, land confiscation, class structure and more. On the topic of building the Continental Army, I found it interesting that building said army was a struggle. Specifically, it was challenging to recruit people because the majority of the population, who were poor, did not want to support the movement mainly because it was run by the rich and powerful within society. Since the colonials were oppressive towards the African Americans and the Native Americans, neither group supported the revolution unless it directly impacted them. For example, some free Africans in the North volunteered for the fight.
The rich and powerful who guided the Revolution within America ended up relying on small, poor, militia groups to fight the good fight. Numerous poor people ended up volunteering or enlisting in the army so that they could have the opportunity of having a better life. They hoped that they move up social classes, earn a good wage, and more. When the war eventually came to an end, the soldiers didn’t receive their money. Instead, they were given tickets that could be used to pick up their money in a few years. Other than the war, another important factor within America was what was going on politically. In order to be apart of the government, you needed to be a wealthy land owner. Throughout the war, Loyalists ended up fleeing their homes so that they could keep their freedoms. Their homes and property were taken and eventually redistributed. Often times these confiscated lands ended up in the lands of previously wealthy people. This is an example of the famous saying where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In states like New York; however, some of the land was given to the people thus decreasing the amount of tenant farmers in the area. Something that the book pointed out that I found to be very interesting was that, in Maryland, in order to run for governor, you needed to own at least 5,000 pounds worth of property. In order to run for the state senate, you needed to own at least 1,000 pounds of land.
While reading, a found one quote that was stood out to me greatly. The quote stated, “The rich must wither control the government directly or control the laws by which the government operates.” I think this quote is very interesting mostly because I think it’s true. Examples of this can be seen all throughout history. Specifically we saw this quote come to life during the Industrial Revolution when leaders of industry bribed and supported political leaders for their own personal gain. Overall, I found the reading from A People’s History of the United States to be very interesting while containing numerous ideas and topics that can be seen in our society today.