Howard Zinn and the Us Constitution

Topics: United States Constitution, Slavery, Benjamin Franklin Pages: 3 (722 words) Published: November 22, 2010
The late Howard Zinn is a much respected historian. His views are known to be bold and nonetheless controversial. In his book, “A People’s History of the United States,” Zinn touches on topics such as indentured servants, angry civilians, and the United States Constitution.

Indentured servants were people of a lower economic class who worked for people of a higher economic background. These servants worked for a given amount of time, usually between five and seven years and either worked for money, food, shelter, or freedom. Indentured servants were originally made up of mostly young white males who were trading their time in prison or their poverty for time working as a servant.

The number of indentured servants began to decrease and soon after English colonists looked for other potential people to enslave. The Virginia colony needed labor. They needed to grow corn for subsistence, and needed to grow tobacco for export because they had just learned to grow tobacco. Virginia couldn’t make the Indians work for them like Christopher Columbus had done in the past. The colonists would be outnumbered if they decided to try to take over the Indians even though they were equipped with firearms. The Indians were resourceful, defiant, tough, and practically fearless. The colony needed an alternate choice.

African slaves were the answer to Virginia’s labor problem. Blacks had already been imported as slaves to South America and the Caribbean to Spanish and Portuguese colonies. The blacks made enslavement easier because of how hopeless they were. They were robbed of their homeland and culture and in most cases they were separated from their families. Zinn referred to the slavery against the blacks to be the cruelest form of slavery in history.

The British were taxing the colonial population to pay for the French war. Many colonists did not agree with the Stamp Act and wanted it repealed. That summer, Ebenezer Macintosh, a shoemaker, led a mob in...
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