A People's History of the Us Chapter 5 Summary

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A People’s History of the United States
Chapter 5 Abstract

Chapter 5 continues to cover the American Revolution, illustrates different views on the war, the American’s expansion into the West, and the continued inequalities of the poor and rich in the United States.

At one point, in an attempt to draft men for the war, Americans promised soldiers distribution of land. This was very ironic and non-beneficial to the sailors, also known as seamen, a class of men they were trying to enlist.

Zinn talks about differing views of the American Revolution throughout chapter 5 which, to and extent, divided the colonies. To explain how America was breaking their bondage from Britain, but only creating a new bondage between the upper and lower classes of the colonies, he states a quote from Richard Morris, “Everywhere one finds inequality... the revolution did nothing to end and little to ameliorate white bondage.” (Zinn pg. 84) The lower class felt as if they were being treated unequally compared to the upper class because they were forced into participating in the war, while the rich were not. Edward Morgan sums up the class nature of the American Revolution this way, “The fact that the lower ranks were involved in the contest should not obscure the fact that the contest itself was generally a struggle for office and power between members of an upper class.” (Zinn pg. 84) The men who established the revolt were mostly members of the ruling class. For example, “George Washington was the richest man in America.” (Zinn pg. 85)

The colonial elites used the Constitution as a means to solidify and legitimize the already established social ranks as the Constitution did nothing to create equality between whites, blacks, Indians, rich and poor.

The American’s expansion into the West was continually met with opposition by constant conflict with the Indians. The colonists were trying to settle in lands that had already been promised to the Indians. These conflicts led...
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