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In Chapter 1 of Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States, what are...

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miasmith1 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2012 at 11:08 PM via web

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In Chapter 1 of Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States, what are communities?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 26, 2012 at 1:41 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter One, Zinn uses the word communities to describe the plethora of Native American societies that existed in the Americas prior to contact with Europeans in 1492. He emphasizes that, contrary to popular memory, the Americas were filled with large, sophisticated communities:

Columbus and his followers were not coming into an empty wilderness, but into a world which in some places was as densely populated as Europe itself, where the culture was complex, where human relations were more egalitarian than in Europe, and where the relations between men, women, children, and nature were more beautifully worked out than in any place in the world. 

Zinn also emphasizes the differences between these communities and European understandings of society. Explorers and settlers could not initially make sense, for example, of the matrilineal nature of Iroquois and other socieites, in which women not only inherited possessions, but exercised a great deal of political power. In comparing European and Native American conceptions of community, Zinn clearly views those of Indian peoples as superior. At the very least, he concludes, it ought to make Americans reconsider their popular memory of exploration and conquest:

...it is enough to make us reconsider...the excuse of progress in the annihilation of races, and the telling of history from the standpoint of the conquerors and leaders of Western civilization.

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Jessica Gardner | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 31, 2012 at 5:28 PM (Answer #2)

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Hi miasmith1,

Any follow-up questions you may have should actually be posted in a new question. If you ask them here, our editors won't be likely to see that you've asked a new question, and therefore won't be able to answer it. Try posting your questions above at the following link:

http://www.enotes.com/peoples-history-united-states/q-and-a/ask 

Thanks!

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miasmith1 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:51 PM (Answer #3)

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ok so what interests do they share? and how are they in opposition?


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