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

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What are similarities and differences between chapter 1of A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and part one of Paul Johnson's A History of the American People?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The respective approaches of Howard Zinn and Paul Johnson to early American history are almost diametrically opposite. Johnson, as a staunch conservative, takes the colonists’ claims at face value. What they are seeking to do, he maintains, is to remedy the evident failings of the British constitution, a constitution which despite its many imperfections is nonetheless founded on fundamental principles of liberty, limited government and the rule of law.

Instead of relying on the often confusing mixture of conventions, statutes and common law that make up the British constitution, the colonists are keen to codify the most important underlying principles and set them down in a written document. This document, the Constitution of the United States of America, establishes for the first time in human history a genuine government of laws, not men.

Zinn, however, approaching the issue from the left of the political spectrum, goes behind the American colonists’ rhetoric to examine not just what...

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