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

A People's History of the United States book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the main idea of Chapter 10 of A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,198 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Zinn defies the usual division of United States history into pre-Civil War, Civil War, and post-Civil War periods. Instead, he examines 18301870 as a whole, from the perspective of the working class struggle to obtain fair wages, shorter working days (such as the 12 or 10-hour day), and safer working conditions. However, Zinn says, the working class struggle is often obscured by historians, in part by the emphasis on the Civil War and slavery, as well as simple neglect of the workers' stories and the workers' own prudent need to work quietly:

The full extent of the working-class consciousness of those yearsas of any yearsis lost in history, but fragments remain and make us wonder how much of this always existed underneath the very practical silence of working people.

Zinn makes the point that working class people toiling in northern factories, including women and children, fought almost nonstop for a better deal, largely through strikes. At certain points, such as the economic...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 667 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write4,275 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

usfbull74 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write6 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Law and Politics, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial