A People's History of the United States Questions and Answers
by Howard Zinn

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According to A People's History of the United States, did the Civil War effectively end the growing division between capital and labor?

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Howard Zinn’s most famous work, A People's History of the United States, is consistent with the historian’s long-held perspective as to whether the American Civil War ended the division between capital and labor. The short response is definitely not. The entire book purports to be a more socialist rendition of American history that differs substantially from the traditional perspectives favored by historians and long accepted by the American public.

The answer to the question posed is dealt with primarily in chapter 10, entitled “The Other Civil War.” Much of the chapter is devoted to the historical happenings leading up to the post-war period. Citing Morton Horwitz and The Transformation of American Law, Zinn states:

“In the thirty years leading up to the Civil War, the law was increasingly interpreted in the courts to suit the capitalist development of the country.”

He argues that socialism is a healthy, viable solution to the economic disparity between the rich and poor, which...

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