Based on chapter 13 of A People's History of the United States, what is your understanding of poverty in the United States?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Zinn's assessment of "The Socialist Challenge," the experience of poverty leads to social unrest and people striking back.  Zinn does not draw a picture of poverty where people are silenced and immersed in their own suffering in a private manner.  Rather, he speaks of the Muckrakers, the IWW, and the NAACP, and other organizations that rise out of the need to demand social change.  Additionally, Zinn argues that the Progressive movement rises out of this need for the demand of social change that comes from poverty and the conditions that cause poverty.  Zinn's belief that the impoverished condition of America at the turn of the 20th Century was the logical extension of unchecked and unrestrained capitalism.  For Zinn, this reality is what prompted people to demand change out of these conditions and seek ways to remedy the situation.  This form of change is representative of change coming from "the bottom up," whereby social organizations organically rose from the people in order to seek change to poverty and to ensure that individuals did not live a life of silenced suffering.

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