Howard Zinn: Use and Abuse of History Summary Essay

2064 Words Oct 5th, 2012 9 Pages
Response to Howard Zinn article

History is something we constantly refer to progress ourselves as humans, we learn from our mistakes and continue to strive from our successes. But who is to say what is a horrible mistake or a courageous act of valor? That which was documented about what happened so long ago, was done by a person who spread the story or wrote it down from their perspective. Howard Zinn’s argument that there is no such thing as impartial history clearly illustrates that when history is recorded there is always two sides to the story, that things are either left out or kept in to sway the reader to one side or the other. “Everyone is biased, whether they
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Many would agree, but what he did for the economy of Germany and how he brought a starving and poor country back to power can be considered in respects a tremendous act of great leadership and planning. (Trueman , The Nazis and the German Economy) The way history is presented is in a way that makes the presenter (the government) look good in the eyes of its citizens. The picking and choosing of facts only furthers the stereotype that “the world had good guys and bad guys, good countries and bad countries, and ours was good” (Violence and Human Nature 41). It makes sense in a way that it keeps the masses satisfied with their style and way of government. If the complete history of the U.S. governmental flaws and acts of murders were to be published and used in schools of course the reaction would be to demand change and seek a new way of doing things. But that in itself would be using history in a partial way and again proving history his used to prove points and emphasis ideas based on who is telling them. Zinn’s idea that being partial is inevitable (Use and Abuse of History 51) cannot be denied, history is always told to prove a point and a point cannot be proven unless ideas are supported with the right facts chosen by those who document them.

The ideas, beliefs and values we hold so strong to ourselves dictate the way we see art, literature and the world. The way we see history and
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