Howard Zinn's Thesis

Thoughts on Howard Zinn’s Thesis
In Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States 1492-present, he suggests that the way in which history is presented to us in school textbooks distorts reality by leaving out or trivializing ugly events of man’s inhumanity towards other men. This can be proven through events such as the slave trade, the Spanish exploration, and the view of Christopher Columbus.
When reading and discussing about the Slave trade, the true brutality and dehumanization that occurred is usually undermined. In history textbooks, it covers the slave trade, but it fails to emphasize the true torture that these slaves went through. The only real mention of the effect of slavery is when the textbooks states, “This loss of so many men may have changed parts of African culture forever” (381). When watching the movie clip from Amistad, directed by Steven Spielberg, it showed how to slaves were treated like animals. They were all taken from their families and piled onto a ship and chained up. They were fed very little and if they were ill they were pushed off the ship chained together and drowned. When looking at the movie and then the textbook, there is a large difference in the degree that the slave trade is portrayed.
Another historical event that is “watered down” in the textbook is the Spanish explorations. When the textbook talks about Pizarro and the Incas it talks about how “[The Spanish] fought on horseback and used cannons, guns, and swords…. [and] European diseases killed many of Aztecs and Incas during this period” (367). In the movie Aguirre, it shows the harsh conditions that Pizarro and his troops had to go through. Also it ends with everyone dying. The book fails to show the treacherous journey the Spanish explorations involved. They focus more on the basic facts and the root of the expeditions not what actually happened on the journey.
Christopher Columbus is viewed so highly by everyone because of his accomplishments. We...