Zinn Chapter 1 – Study Questions

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Alana Walker August 15, 2011 Mrs. Booth ZINN CHAPTER 1 1. According to Zinn, what is his main purpose for writing A People’s History of the United States? A: to tell vivid descriptions in history that usually gets ignored. Zinn tries to bring out the positive part in the truth. 2. What is Zinn’s thesis for pages 1-11? A: Zinn’s thesis is to not grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. 3. According to Zinn, how is Columbus portrayed in traditional history books? A: As a great hero that discovered the Americas but was willing to do anything to get what he wanted. 4. Why does Zinn dispute Henry Kissinger’s statement: “History is the memory of states?” A: because Zinn thinks that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Zinn’s argument was not against selection, simplification, and emphasis, but his argument was against the mapmakers distortion. Zinn says that it is a technical necessity for a common purpose shared by all who need maps. 5. What is Zinn’s basic criticism of historian Samuel Eliot Morison’s book, Christopher Columbus, Mariner? A: Zinn feels that Morrison mentions the truth quickly and goes on to things more important to him. He feels that Morrison tries to cover the bad things in history up with good things that have happened. 6. What major issues does Bartolome de las Casas bring up regarding Spanish expeditions in the Caribbean? A: The major issues Batolome de las Casas bring up is Spanish cruelty towards the Indian people. 7. Identify one early and one subsequent motive that drove Columbus to oppress indigenous peoples. A: one early and subsequent motive that drove Columbus to oppress indigenous peoples was that in return for bringing back gold and spices Columbus was promised 10 percent of the profits, governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with the title:

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