Describe the divergence in viewpoint of Zinn and Foner in the history of the United States.  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Both historians are similar in that they assess history in a manner that tends to reject the traditional narrative.  A point of difference between them can be seen in both the literal and more reflective analysis.  In one dimension, Foner differs from Zinn in that his focus is on one particular period and linking the events from that period to the modern setting.  His study of Reconstruction is one in which he is able to draw parallels to the modern Civil Rights Movement and even link such realities to the current state of race and political understanding of racial constructs.  Zinn is more concerned with the idea of assessing how social and political institutions throughout American History have limited power to the ruling elite and the wealthy.  He draws this analysis throughout American History.  Foner looks at one period and draws potential thematic implications from there.  Zinn takes the thematic analysis and applies it to all periods of American History.  In both, one sees the power of reflective analysis in historical narrative, one that fundamentally reshifts how individuals view American History and the implications of it.


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