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Gina Tangelo

AP US History
9/7/17

Comparison and Contrast of the Howard Zinn and the Republican National
Committee’s View of American History

In the past, and even now, there has been a constant disagreement about what students are

being taught about our nation’s history, two of the most commons arguers being Howard Zinn

and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Both Zinn and the RNC agreed with what

important parts of history should be taught to students. They both differed on whether the

negative aspects should be taught or not. Howard Zinn thought that our nation’s history was

limited while the RNC thought that the tests did not discuss enough about the more important

subjects like the Founding Fathers.

American history has many different aspects that students are taught for the final AP

exam. Howard Zinn and the Republican National Committee both taught that the most important

aspects of our nation’s history. They both agree that the history that is being taught to display the

positive parts of history and to make America look like the greatest country there is. The

American revolution is a time period where the focus is more on how America advanced

economically and intellectually and how it paved the path for how the country looks today. The

Declaration of Independence is also a very important aspect of our history and both this and the

American Revolution have been looked at as all positive, the consequences and unfortunate

circumstances for other groups living around like the black slaves of the Native Americans never

being discussed.

Howard Zinn and the Republican National Committee’s view of American history

contrasted when it came to the aspects of our history that were less focused on. Howard Zinn

believed that the point of view of history shown in normal textbooks was limited and only grazed
the surface of the true history of America. Because of this contrasting view, Zinn decided to

write his own history book that showed the truth about our history: A People’s History of the

United States. He talked about slavery and the struggles of the Native Americans in America as

well as including stories that were usually ignored. Zinn stated that “99 percent of Americans

share a “commonality” that is profoundly at odds with the interests of their rulers. And

knowledge of that awesome fact is “exactly what the governments of the United States, and the

wealthy elite allied to them-from the Founding Fathers to now-have tried their best to prevent.”

This view point contrasts with what the RNC wanted since they believed that new frameworks

being written were focusing too much on the negatives and is starting to minimize the positives,

a type of framework similar to what Zinn had wanted while writing his textbook. While the RNC

wanted for the ways of the tests to stay the same, Zinn wanted for students to be able to take the

class and be able to learn the true history of their country, nothing being hidden.

These two contrasting views have been a topic of discussion for years and years, and is

still a topic being discussed today. Many people feel that American history being taught to

students is minimizing the positive events and focusing more on the negatives while others feel

that the whole history of America should be taught to students and put on the tests. Howard

Zinn’s new textbook has won many awards and been rewritten to be used in schools, these

textbooks being very different from the older ones. While some schools still use older versions of

textbooks and try to make the system return back to what it was, the system at the moment is

very similar to the idea that Zinn wanted when he wrote his textbook.