In this Zinn chapter, he acknowledges that his book has been biased and focused on anti-government arguments. He is not ashamed of this given the fact that most of the accounts of our history don’t focus on the revolts by people and instead on moments of our government’s “greatness”. It is impossible to get an unbiased account of America’s history, so reading multiple perspectives is imperative to understanding the bigger picture. Reading different perspectives has made me realize I don’t have to agree with everything the author is saying, but I can take it with a grain of salt and understand where their argument is coming from. Collecting all of this knowledge allows me to create my own opinion of how I think America’s history truly happened.
This particular chapter seemed like a call to action. Zinn emphasizes that the middle-class who are secure in their jobs but still slightly oppressed by the government are the guards of the capitalist system. They are just content enough to not revolt with the rest of the lower-class population but do not benefit nearly as much as the wealthy 1%, so they have a reason to revolt. Zinn wishes for the middle class to come out of their comfort zone and join with the lower class who they share more commonalities than differences. I can see the benefit of this type of movement, but how possible is it? What is it going to take to change the mindset of these middle-class workers, when they have stayed guards for the system for hundreds of years? It seems that drastic change is going to take years to implement, so how do we inspire Americans to put in the grunt work and take those risks for a greater future?
I also agree with your comment about gaining multiple perspectives and creating your own opinion. Zinn allowed me to realize that history can be told in a variety of ways. In fact, we rarely get the full picture of history. I now feel a lot more comfortable in piecing together the puzzle of history and creating an opinion on what I think truly happened in the U.S.
I think it is very interesting how history and American history in particular are always going to be biased. While Zinn’s book certainly is biased, I believe it does a very good job of accurately explaining why it is biased. I also found this chapter to be somewhat of a call to action.
I agree with your assessment of Zinn’s indirect comparison to an Orwellian economic structure where the power of the elite relies on the perpetual struggles between the lower classes. In the case of the United States, this struggle has been manufactured by the elite, primarily by use of cultural, regional, and racial divisions.