Zinn Chapter Questions
Chapter 1- Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress
A. Write down the FIVE most important things Zinn says about Columbus.
The five most important things that Zinn says about Columbus are:
* Columbus would never have made it to Asia, which was thousands of miles farther away than he had planned, imagining a smaller world.
* The information that Columbus wanted most was gold.
* On Hispaniola, Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas).
* Zinn said not that he must, in telling history, blame, judge, convict Columbus in absentia. And it’s too late for that.
* Columbus and his successors were not coming into an empty desert, but into a place which was as densely populated as Europe, where the culture was complex, and not simple.
B. Write down the TWO most important things he says about the writing of history.
The two most important things he says about the writing of history are:
* He said that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. The history of any country conceals violent conflicts of interest between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers.
* But to think that history-writing must intent simply to repeat the failures that control the past is to make historians traitors in an endless cycle of conquest.
1. According to Zinn, what is his main purpose for writing A People’s History of the United States?
- According to Zinn, his main purpose for writing A People’s History of the United States is to present American history through the eyes of the common people rather than political and economic elites.
2. What is Zinn’s thesis for first 10 minutes of reading?
3. According to Zinn, how is Columbus portrayed in traditional history books?
- In traditional history books, it starts with heroic adventure; there is no bloodshed-and Columbus Day is a celebration.