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

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What is Zinn's main argument in Chapter 3 of A People's History of the United States?

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Chapter 3 of Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States discusses Bacon’s Rebellion. Bacon’s Rebellion is always complex to talk about because while it was an uprising of the masses against the wealthy, it was instigated by a wealthy landowner. It’s also overtly racist, in that the colonizer’s anger was also directed toward Native Americans. Zinn takes all of this more or less into account, and the basic argument he makes is that America was built on deep inequality, an inequality that persists to this day.

Poor white settlers in the 1670s felt they were being pushed toward the west, as most of eastern Virginia was owned by wealthy landowners. Thus they saw the Native Americans and wealthy landowners both as their oppressors, coming at them from each side. When Nathaniel Bacon was elected to the House of Burgesses in Spring 1676, there had been an escalation of violence between the white settlers and the Native...

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