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

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What are the main ideas and key points of chapter 13: The Socialist Challenge in Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States?

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In chapter 13 of his A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn argues that American capitalism and its associated imperialism came under mainstream critique by the early 1900s. Though criticism was not radical and the flaws of the capitalist system were plain to see, there also arose socialist critiques. Writers and muckraking journalists revealed to the public eye rampant corruption and labor exploitation. A handful of American banking interests had created a corporate oligarchy. Scientific labor management methods, like Taylorism, sought to make workers interchangeable and thus compromised their individuality and humanity. Poor and often dangerous working conditions led to deaths and illnesses in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere and led to more organized labor action in the form of strikes and membership in labor unions. The exclusivity of the unions, specifically the barring of blacks from membership and the lack of popular control in their administration, led to the...

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