Common Core and Howard Zinn’s Controversial History Book “A People’s History of the United States”

A People’s History of the United States is a 1980 book written by Dr Howard Zinn, a U.S. historian and political scientist. This is a controversial history book since he presented United States history through the view point of the common people, radicals, socialists, and Marxists.

A People’s History of the United States, or the free materials that accompany the book which can be easily downloaded for free from the internet, is being used in middle and high schools in the Miami-Dade County Public School, the fourth largest school district in the United States, as well as in other middle schools and high schools and colleges and universities across the United States.

Zinn described United States entry in World War II as being manufactured through the institutions of American society. He stated that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were unnecessary since the United States knew Japan was ready to surrender. Again this view is a distortion of reality.

Zinn explained the Cold War differently from standard American history textbooks. He wrote that the United States government used the Cold War to increase control of the American people and to create a state of permanent war.

Zinn argued that there will be a radical movement of rebelion involving labor unions, black radicals, Native Americans, feminists, and members of the middle class that would use strikes, civil disobedience, marches, demonstrations in order to redistribute wealth and to change the political and economic structure of the United States. Zinn wanted to establish a socialist or a Communist system in the nation.

This Marxist point of view of America explained that America’s riches are due to theft, and as such, America is under the obligation to redistribute its wealth to the Third World nations. Similarly, America needs also redistribute the wealth among its citizens in the nation to end income inequality.

The influence of Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States can be seen in what is happening with the College Board Advance Placement U.S. history test. In an article written by Mary Grabar entitled “The New Advance Placement U.S. History Exam: Providing Opportunities for Indoctrination,” which was published by Bear Witness Central on August 5, 2014, she explained that this new test is being widely criticized.

Zinn described himself as “something of an anarchist, something of a socialist, and something of a Marxist.” He suggested looking at socialism in its full historical context as a popular, positive idea that got a bad name from its association with Soviet Communism.

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