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By Howard Zinn

Identified for its vigorous, transparent prose in addition to its scholarly study, A People's heritage of the United States is the one quantity to inform America's tale from the perspective of -- and within the phrases of -- America's ladies, manufacturing unit staff, African american citizens, local american citizens, operating bad, and immigrant workers.

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Extra info for A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present

Sample text

The question is important, not just as a matter of historical accuracy, but because any emphasis on "natural" racism lightens the responsibility of the social system. If racism can't be shown to be natural, then it is the result of certain conditions, and we are impelled to eliminate those conditions. We have no way of testing the behavior of whites and blacks toward one another under favorable conditions-with no history of subordination, no money incentive for exploitation and enslavement, no desperation for survival requiring forced labor.

But he became a symbol of mass resentment against the Virginia establishment, and was elected in the spring of 1676 to the House of Burgesses. When he insisted on organizing armed detachments to fight the Indians, outside official control, Berkeley proclaimed him a rebel and had him captured, whereupon two thousand Virginians marched into Jamestown to support him. Berkeley let Bacon go, in return for an apology, but Bacon went off, gathered his militia, and began raiding the Indians. Bacon's "Declaration of the People" of July 1676 shows a mixture of populist resentment against the rich and frontier hatred of the Indians.

In fact, there was such a class already developed in Virginia. Bacon himself came from this class, had a good bit of land, and was probably more enthusiastic about killing Indians than about redressing the grievances of the poor. But he became a symbol of mass resentment against the Virginia establishment, and was elected in the spring of 1676 to the House of Burgesses. When he insisted on organizing armed detachments to fight the Indians, outside official control, Berkeley proclaimed him a rebel and had him captured, whereupon two thousand Virginians marched into Jamestown to support him.

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