What is Gordon S. Wood’s argument and what is Howard Zinn’s argument on the nature of the American War for Independence and what evidence do the two historians present to support their interpretations? Who do you think presents the better case? Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn’s argument on the nature of the American War for Independence was the war for independence was not a social revolution. Instead, he argues the colonial elite used the war for their own personal gain in power and status. The wealthy and powerful found a strategy to maintain and even increase their social and political status by leading the war against England and the courtiers associated with England. One of the major concerns during the time surrounding the War for Independence was social control. The members of the continental congress, as well as social elites, were concerned with class conflict; particularly, the poor masses rising up in rebellion against congress and the social elite. In order to deflect possible rebellion, those at risk strategically pushed the blame of poverty to England as the reason the poor were still poor. To better make his point, Howard Zinn used evidence from many rebellions. Howard Zinn began with Bacon’s Rebellion and then continued with a few of the 18 rebellions since that time. The poor, or lower classes, were strategically directed through political leadership against England which granted the poor some benefits but more benefits for political leaders. Another way the social elite and continental congress gained support from the lower class against England was through propaganda. Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, made the first argument for independence. Thomas Paine wrote in a way so every person could understand and appealed to a vast range of people angered by England. He represented unban artisans who were in favor of a strong central government. It was through Thomas Paine that many colonists sided with independence from England. The Declaration of...
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