What is Howard Zinn's main statement or argument in Chapter One of The People's History of the United States?
In Chapter One, Howard Zinn challenges the reader to view the history of the United States through a different lens. Zinn argues that most histories are told through the perspective of the elite. The elite can be defined as those that are in power or those that benefit from the actions of those in power. Zinn explains that this does not paint a complete picture of the how events unfold. In fact, this way of narrating history can be considered flawed at best, and dishonest at worst.
To illuminate his message, his narrative examines the exploration of the New World. Traditionally, the story of Christopher Columbus is delivered in a way that glorifies is expeditions. Christopher Columbus is presented as a seminal figure in the progress of mankind. Chapter One dispels this notion in a provocative way. Zinn skillfully tells the story from the perspective of the Arawak Indians that Columbus interacted with. From this lens, the reader realizes that the colonization of the New World came at a great cost to the natives that inhabited these lands.