A Patriot's History Versus a People's History

1359 words 6 pages
A People’s History Versus A Patriot’s History

Public consensus, similar to politics, varies greatly when it comes to American history, especially as it pertains to the classroom. Views about the content and historical interpretation included in history texts have reached a heightened polarization in recent years. This can be seen in the vast differences between the diatribes of Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, and Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen’s, A Patriot’s History of the United States. While both books, prescribed by this introductory course into American History, cover many of the same topics, they clearly paint different pictures. I feel that any text seeking to represent a responsible survey of a
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In my opinion, his inspiration, though self-admittedly biased, bled off the page and brought to light many issues with orthodox history.

Zinn brings up an important issue in the debate over classroom history. What should be included? There is obviously not enough time or space for a textbook to cover everything that has affected or happened within our nation’s history, even if political undertones could be stripped from its writing. Nevertheless, the question of which events should be included does not factor into my argument, which examines two particular alternatives. For two different texts which tout their political beliefs about either side of the issues, the same major historical events are included in each. However, the reading assignments selected for this course have been tailored to specific events in such a manner that the material has been covered by each book. Afterall, one could hardly question the inclusion of topics such as both world wars, and the civil rights movement to a comprehensive account of history. The major differences between these texts have involved the surrounding and precursory issues, such as the catalyst for the wars or the successes of the civil rights movement. While Zinn’s research seems to go more in depth than that of Schweikart and Allen, it is confined to the issues that are important to his argument. Most