After reading chapter 9 of “A People’s History of the United States,” I was surprised to feel that I actually was taught in my schooling something very similar to what Zinn discusses. Previous chapters have made me feel as though I have been lied to but some of the facts that were brought about throughout this chapter were quite familiar to me. One thing that particularly stood out to me was the fact that Abraham Lincoln was not as heroic as we think. His intentions were not fully to abolish slavery but instead, he wanted to strengthen the Union. We look at Lincoln as a man who cared so deeply for the African Americans but instead his main source of motivation was to benefit himself.
Later in the chapter, Zinn discusses the future for the slaves after the Civil War. Right after the Civil War laws were in place to try to allow the African Americans to have somewhat of an equal opportunity and resources in their lives. It was a big adjustment from having the African Americans being treated as property to them being viewed as equal. White plantation owners got their only way of making money taken away from them which created extreme anger. They were not ready to give up their power.
Another thing that stood out to me was Zinn’s question at the end of the chapter. He asked, “In the growth of American capitalism, before and after the Civil War, whites, as well as blacks, were in some sense becoming slaves?” This shows how people in power abuse their power. It is an ongoing cycle of the lower status of people being controlled by rich people who love to control others.