Howard Zinn

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Brian Morales

In "A Kind of Revolution" Howard Zinn highlights the oppression and inequality in-between the lines of the constitution and the "forcing (of) large numbers of reluctant people to associate themselves with a natural cause;" the cause being, the American Revolution. The Revolutionary leaders "distrusted the mobs of poor" but were faced with the problem of defending the country against the British army. Fearing armed slaves and Indians the leaders had no choice but to attempt to "woo the (already) armed white population." The poor saw opportunity in the military. There was the possibility of being promoted in rank, earning money, and elevating their social status. This could turn a poor white man's life around; and by "offering the adventure and rewards of service (the military convinced) poor people to fight for a cause they might not see clearly as their own." However, these soldiers, who were promised prosperity, were consumed with disease, suffering, and dying on the front lines. They were also still poor. The formation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights solved none of this. These documents were "not simply the work of wise men trying to establish a decent and orderly society;" because the poor, the indentured servants, the slaves, the Indians, and women; were left unchanged and out of luck. Zinn sums up the effect of the Revolution best. "The rebellion against British rule allowed a certain group of the colonial elite to replace those loyal to England…and leave poor white working people and tenant farmers in very much their old situation."
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