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An Author's Perspective

Featuring new fiction from Ken Brosky and author authors, as well as occasional political commentary whenever something really important happens. But mostly fiction.

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"Tyranny is Tyranny"

people's history of the united states, howard zinn, capitalism, u.s. independence, america, declaration of independence, ken brosky

In honor of historian Howard Zinn--who recently passed away--I thought it would be interesting to share passages from his best-selling A People's History of the United States. Unlike the history books we grew up with in school, A People's History doesn't sugarcoat any of the events that have defined our nation from its inception. It's been regarded, wrongly, as being "unpatriotic," whatever that may mean. But the goal of Zinn's book was to present certain truths that are simply omitted in our history classes, and it's worth reading if you haven't done so already. One of the best aspects of Zinn's history book is his use of writing from people living during each period in our country's history, and that's what I'm going to share.

On to chapter 4, "Tyranny is Tyranny." England, attempting to pay of its war debts was ticking off quite a few people over its attempts to sink its fingers into the colonies. It was only a matter of time before people of all classes began fighting back.

But there was a problem. At this time, the civic rights of blacks and women and the poor and even the middle class (who didn't own property) were severely limited. There was plenty of anger over the status quo, and if the Independence movement wanted a break from England, it would need these people to protest and fight back. But at the same time, the wealthy property owners needed to control the movement. Otherwise, the disenfranchised would ask for too much. Voting rights? For those who don't own property? Ha! No way. So once the protests against the Crown began, it all had to be cautiously controlled by the wealthy elites. From British general Thomas Gage:

The Boston Mob, raised first by the Instigation of Many of the Principal Inhabitants, Allured by Plunder, rose shortly after of their own Accord, attacked, robbed, and destroyed several Houses, and amongst others, that of the Lietenant Governor ... People then began to be terrified at the Spirit they had raised, to perceive that popular Fury was not to be guided, and each individual feared he might be the next Victim to their Rapacity. The same Fears spread thro' the other Provinces, and there has been as much Pains taken since, to prevent Insurrections, of the People; as before to excite them. (65)

In other words: the wealthy landowners protesting the Crown awakened a beast, one that needed to be controlled at all times. So when the upper class took part in the Independence movement, it was careful to post guards at its doors. Throughout the U.S. fight for independence, people who didn't own land would be needed to fight the British Army ...

But they would need to keep their expectations of a new America low.

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