The Other Civil War of a People's History of The United States

1454 WordsJun 16, 20186 Pages
In chapter “The Other Civil War” of A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn described the underlying class tensions caused by industrialization during the nineteenth century. He claimed that these tensions would have led to radical labor reforms if the working class’s anger had not been directed towards other issues. Zinn used The Age of Enterprise by Thomas C. Cochran and William Miller to show the upper class’s indifference towards the problems of the lower class and to prove that the rich manipulated the poor to promote their own interests. He also used Class and Community by Alan Dawley to offer examples of working class resistance, government oppression, and the effects of the Civil War. While Zinn’s use of Class and…show more content…
Racism offered another outlet for class frustration. Furthermore, the Civil War gave industrial workers a feeling of unity with their employers and turned their anger towards a common enemy. Zinn implied that poor conditions and government oppression would have caused a proletariat revolt if not for other outlets for anger fueled by class divisions. The Age of Enterprise demonstrated the importance of industry to the events of the nineteenth century. While the authors shared some of Zinn’s views, they refute many of the claims he makes in “The Other Civil War.” Cochran and Miller argued that the actions of the government and the eastern businessmen were all done to promote industry and enterprise. In this way, they agreed with Zinn that profit was the primary concern of politicians during the Industrial Revolution. Zinn used their description of Daniel Webster to demonstrate the importance of profit to Americans. Likewise, Cochran and Miller believed that Webster’s industrial policies were the source of his popularity. They described a group of families in Boston known as the Boston Associates who controlled many resources like water power and transportation facilities. Like Cochran and Miller, Zinn contended that these families exemplified the industrialists’ disregard for the troubles of their workers. Their descriptions of the poor conditions and the rise of class consciousness

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