In “A Kind of Revolution” Howard Zinn provides a more accurate analysis of the American Revolution, which includes the perspectives of slaves, Indians, white servants, and poor white people. Similarly to previous chapters within A People’s History of the United States, I was once again compelled to question and alter my past beliefs about historical events after reading this chapter. In lower, middle, and high school I learned of the American Revolution through the lens of rich, white powerful men, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and therefore never really considered the major role that minority groups played in the American Revolution. Zinn’s description of the wealth divide between the wealthy and poor oppression that the minority groups faced during the American Revolution was very eye opening to me.
Zinn explains the unfortunate truth that one of the motivations of the upper class to engage in the American Revolution was to gain more wealth and power in society. I was previously unaware of this and the wealth divide that existed within the Continental Army. For example, I was suprised that colonel’s within the army received $75 a month, meanwhile privates in the army received $6.66 a month. After learning about this and other facts, I completely agree with Zinn that the Revolution was, “distributed in such a way as to give a double opportunity to Revolutionary leaders: to enrich themselves and their friends…” (84). It is now much easier for me to understand why the United States still faces major wealth gap and class issues as classism was implemented in our countries roots hundreds of years ago by our Founding Fathers.
Furthermore, I agreed with Zinn’s statements regarding the Constitution.I think that it is awful that African Americans, indentured servants, women, and men without property were not reflected in the Constitution. As Zinn states, I once believed that “…the Constitution drawn up in 1787 [was] a work of genius put together by wise, humane men who created a legal framework for democracy and equality” (90). However, now, it is puzzling to me that our Founding Fathers only referenced white men in the Constitution and did not include minority groups, such as women and African Americans.