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A People's History of the United States

by Howard Zinn
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What is the main idea of chapter 5 of A People's History of the United States?

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Chapter 5 of A People's History is, along with the preceding chapter, one of two dealing with the American Revolution. In it, Howard Zinn advances an interpretation of the Revolution that emphasizes the aspirations and involvement of ordinary Americans. He stresses the conflicts and tensions that emerged between these farmers, laborers, and artisans and the elites that we usually associate with leading and directing the Revolution. Ultimately, his argument is that, despite their contributions, ordinary Americans were excluded from the document that emerged from the Revolution—the US Constitution. This line of argument is heavily influenced by the Progressive historiographical school, but Zinn also incorporates much of the scholarship sometimes called the New Left. He discusses the many ways that revolutionary leaders—almost all wealthy elites—attempted to control the participation of "poor and middling" Americans. He uses examples ranging from restrictions in state constitutions to...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 956 words.)

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