of the united states

s e c o n d e d i t i o n
teaching with
by howard zinn and anthony arnove
NEW YORK, NY 10013
Gayle Olson-Raymer
Humboldt State University
voices of a people’s history
“Pick up the book, open it to any page, and start reading. It’s
impossible not to find something that could be used in a social
studies or language arts class. . . . A stunning new volume.”
—Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools
Voices of a People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Anthony
Arnove is a symphony of our nation’s original voices, an embodiment of
the power of civil disobedience and dissent wherein lies our nation’s true
spirit of defiance and resilience.
In this teaching guide, Gayle Olson-Raymer provides insight into how to
use this remarkable anthology in the classroom, including discussion,
exam, and essay questions, creative ideas for in-class activities and group
projects, and suggestions for teaching Voices alongside Zinn’s A People’s
History of the United States.
ISBN-10: 1-58322-683-4 / ISBN-13: 978-1-58322-683-4
Also available in its entirety or chapter-by-chapter as a free downloadable
PDF file at www.sevenstories.com/textbook/.

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Voices of a People’s History of the United States
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Voices of a People’s History
of the United States
by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove
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Gayle Olson-Raymer
Humboldt State University
With selected chapters written by Humboldt County AP teachers:
Jack Bareilles (McKinleyville High School), Natalia Boettcher (South
Fork High School), Mike Benbow(Fortuna High School), Ron Perry
(Eureka High School), Robin Pickering, Jennifer Rosebrook (Arcata
High School), Colby Smart (Ferndale High School), Robert Standish
(South Fork High School), and Chapter 25 written by Humboldt
State University history majors: Jeff Coomber, Adam Crug, Nicole
Sinclair, Megan Watson
New York
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Copyright © :ccs, :c:: by Gayle Olson-Raymer
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, including mechanical, digital,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the
Seven Stories Press
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College professors may order examination copies of all Seven Stories Press titles for
a free six-month trial period. To order, visit www.sevenstories.com/textbook, or fax
on school letterhead to :::-::o-ï¬oc.
College professors who have adopted Voices of a People’s History of the United States
by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove as a course textbook are authorized to
duplicate portions of this guide for their students.
Design by Jon Gilbert
Printed in the U.S.A.
Teachers Guide 20050202.e$S:Layout 1 3/1/11 1:49 PM Page 4
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War and Injustice:
People Speak Out
Five years have passed since the initial publication of this teaching guide. At that time,
the last chapter began with a plea to listen to the voices of those who questioned
our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, who asked us to learn fromour past mis-
takes, and who encouraged us to question governmental decisions about commit-
ting ourselves to war. Five years later, we have included a new chapter with four
voices raising similar questions and concerns. An Iraq war veteran, the mother of a
son who was killed in Iraq, the brother who lost his sibling who died of “friendly
fire” in Afghanistan, and the twelve-year-old daughter of lesbian parents offer clear
evidence that to them and their families, injustice still exists in the United States.
Document-Based Questions
:. Mejía mentions many institutions and issues those in the antiwar movement
must confront: corporations, hypocrites, etc. Which of these entities do
you think requires the most difficult struggle for the antiwar movement?
For whom and why? In what ways could this struggle be resolved?
:. What is your opinion on Mejía’s seven-month confinement for not want-
ing to fight in “George Bush’s war”? Is his resistance justifiable? If so, on what
grounds? If not, why?
+. How do you think the United States should handle situations like Mejía’s?
:. Cindy Sheehan equates the threat of communism in the :,scs to the ter-
rorist threat in present-day America. Do you feel this is valid comparison
or not? Explain.
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:. Explain what Cindy Sheehan meant when she said that sï percent of the
public was with her, and if they spoke up, they could stop the war.
+. Do you think Cindy Sheehan’s plan to camp out front of George Bush’s
house was successful? Why or why not?
:. What does KevinTillman mean when he states, “Somehow, those afraid to
fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for
an illegal invasion they started”? Agree or disagree withTillman’s statement
using examples to back up your position.
:. Does KevinTillman’s statement to the public leave you more hopeful or less
so? Why?
+. In his statement, KevinTillman made the point that “Much has happened
since we handed over our voice.” What didTillman mean by saying he and
his brother handed over their voices? Why would Kevin not be able to
speak out against the war before this point? Why did Pat feel that way?
:. What do you think Evann Orleck-Jetter means when she says, “Vermont’s
Freedom to Marry can help us get back on track”? Do you think Orleck-
Jetter makes an effective argument when she says that the people of
Vermont have not reached the “promised land” envisioned by civil rights
leader Martin Luther King as a result of not allowing same-sex marriage?
Support your answer.
:. Why do you think gay marriage laws have yet to be passed in all fifty states?
Main Points in Voices, Chapter 25, “War and Injustice:
People Speak Out”
:. The voices of religious and corporate interests plays a significant role in
the “democratic” process of policy making in the United States.
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:. When corporations and the wealthy are allowed more say in the government,
common people sacrifice their civil liberties.
+. Civil rights are not freely given but rather require protection by ordinary
¡. In the words of Martin Luther King, “we have yet to reach the Promised
s. The government of the United States is a government of the people. If you
aren’t happy with what it’s doing, it is your right and obligation to change it.
General Discussion Questions For Voices
The following questions can be used to stimulate class discussion about all the
voices read in Chapter :s. They could also be rewritten or designed to serve as an
evaluation tool.
:. Which voices best reinforce the main idea behind this quote by Andy
Rooney: “I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of
those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young
people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way .
. . that takes war out of our lives.” How and why do they support Rooney’s
:. Whose voice do you think reaches a wider U.S. audience. Why? Whose
voice do you think reaches a limited U.S. audience? Why?
+. In her speech, Orleck-Jetter mentions that she has been studying the civil
rights movement. Do you think that her fight for marriage equality is part
of the same movement or is it an entirely new civil rights issue?
¡. Do you think twenty-first century Americans are more apathetic about war
and civil rights compared to Americans in the late twentieth century? Why
or why not?
s. Mejía and Sheehan both refer to similarities between Cold War rhetoric
and that which politicians use today. Who do you think makes a better
argument? Why is it more effective?
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o. Howwould you create an antiwar activity in your community? Who do you
think would be the most difficult group of people in your community to
get involved in this activity? Why? What would be the group most open to
involvement? Why?
¬. Have you ever been involved in a protest activity? If so, how and why? If
not, is there any issue that might convince you to be involved in a protest
Evaluation Tools
These assignments can be used as any type of assessment—homework, short- or
long-termresearch projects, group or individual work. The end product should be
flexible, depending on teacher interest and student abilities.
:. Learn more about the “hot war” between the Soviet Union and the United
States in Afghanistan. Do you think the current presence of U.S. troops in
Afghanistan is a newconflict or a continuation fromthe past? Explain your
:. Read a book review on State of Denial by Bob Woodward. Did this review
give you any information about the Bush administration’s handling of the
war in Iraq?
+. Research the history of same-sex marriage propositions in the United States.
How many times have they appeared on ballots and what seems to be the
deciding factor of the outcome?
¡. Create a chronology documenting same-sex marriage court cases and the sig-
nificance of their outcome. Include the decision, reasoning, and end result.
s. Imagine that you are Cindy Sheehan. Then, write a letter to your con-
gressman explaining your feelings about the war. Make sure you explain the
reasons you are against it and what you expect your congressman to do
about it.
o. Research at least three different antiwar movement groups that have organ-
ized within the last fifty years. What are the different tactics each group
uses to initiate change? Which method do you think is most effective?
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Why? Which would you choose to join and why? Which would you not
choose and why?
¬. Learn more about the confinement of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. When
did their imprisonment begin and upon what grounds were most people
imprisoned? How many remain at Guantánamo and why are they still
being held? What are the current problems related to those who remain?
Based upon what you learned, write President Barack Obama a letter that
supports some action about those remaining in Guantánamo.
ï. Learn more about the history of corporate personhood in the United States.
When did it begin and howhas it evolved? What rights do corporations cur-
rently have that are the same rights to which are all entitled?
Suggested Essay Questions
:. What does Mejía mean when he writes, “No longer able to rely on the rhet-
oric of the Cold War, the corporate warmongers need this global terrorism
to justify the spread of its empire.” Agree or disagree with this statement. What
were the justifications and goals of the United States during the Cold War?
:. Take a position for or against the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You must use strong evidence from your reading to support your position.
+. Do you agree that “the so-called American Dream, to many poor people, is
tied to the obligation to fight in a war for corporate domination”? Why or
why not? Does this statement apply to previous wars? Howand why? Defend
your opinion with actual examples of wars for corporate domination.
¡. What do you believe Camilo Mejía meant by writing the following?:
“Poverty and oppression around the world provide the building blocks for
an empire. Poverty and oppression at home provide the building blocks to
build an imperial army.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
s. Cindy Sheehan claims that she is part of the “silent majority,” just as
President Richard Nixon claimed his supporters were the “silent majority.”
In what ways are Sheehan and Nixon’s silent majorities similar and in what
ways are they different? Would you consider yourself a part of Sheehan’s silent
majority? Why or why not?
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o. How would you describe America’s “War on Terrorism”? Is this a war you
can support? Why or why not?
Simulations and Other Creative Approaches
:. Conduct a survey in which you ask ten people four important questions:
Why did the United States go to war with Afghanistan? Do you support such
reasons? Why did the United States go to war with Iraq. Do you support
such reasons? Then ask them their personal feelings toward the two wars.
Write a paper discussing what you find.
:. Assume the role of a military recruitment officer. Based on what you know
about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, try to persuade an eighteen-year-
old high school graduate to enlist.
+. Assume the role of an antiwar protestor. Based on what you knowabout the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, try and persuade an eighteen-year-old high
school graduate to join your cause.
¡. Stage a debate between Cindy Sheehan and George W. Bush in which
Sheehan wants to bring the troops home and Bush justifies the war’s cause.
s. Before the passage of same-sex marriage, Vermont was confronted with one
major question: should the state grant same-sex couples the right to marry
or should it maintain a “separate but equal” policy by providing for civil
unions or domestic partnerships? This “separate but equal” issue was first
raised in a legal context in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision
Plessy v. Ferguson (:ï,o) and was repealed in Brown v. Board of Education
(:,s¡). Learn more about the court’s decision on “separate but equal” in
both court cases. Then, compare the decisions with the recent case of Baker
v. State of Vermont on same-sex marriage. Create a graphic portrayal of how
these three cases compare and contrast in terms of “separate but equal.”
o. Conduct a classroom debate on this issue: domestic partnerships are equal
to traditional marriage.
¬. Stage a debate on this issue: the war in Iraq is the twentieth-century equiv-
alent to the war in Vietnam.
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For ordering and course adoption information visit
www.sevenstories.com and www.sevenstories.com/textbook
A Young People’s History of the
United States
Adapted by Rebecca Stefoff
Zinn’s first book for young adults retells U.S.
history from the viewpoints of slaves,
workers, immigrants, women, and Native
Americans, reminding younger readers that America’s true greatness is shaped by our
dissident voices, not our military generals. The single-volume edition also includes side-bar
stories of actual children who made American history, from Anyokah, who helped bring
written language to her Cherokee people, to John Tinker, a high school student who fought
all the way to the Supreme Court for freedom of expression at school—and won.
“In many years of searching, we have not found one history book to recommend . . . until the
just published A Young People’s History of the United States. This is the edition of A People’s
History that we have all been waiting for.”—Deborah Menkart, executive director, Teaching for
Volume 1: From Columbus to the Spanish-American War / Paper over board 978-1-58322-759-6 $17.95 224 pages, illustrations throughout
Volume 2: From Class Struggle to the War on Terror / Paper over board 978-1-58322-760-2 $17.95 240 pages, illustrations throughout
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Paper 978-1-58322-869-2 $19.95 464 pages, 50 b&w, illustrations and photos
Cloth 978-1-58322-886-9 $45.00 464 pages, 50 b&w, illustrations and photos
Voices of a People’s History of the United States
Second Edition
Edited with Anthony Arnove
The companion volume to historian Howard Zinn’s legendary best-selling
book A People’s History of the United States.
“Voices should be on every bookshelf. [It presents] the rich tradition of
struggle in the United States, from the resistance to the conquest of the
Americas in the era of Columbus through the protests today of soldiers and their families
against the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq.” —Arundhati Roy
“In Voices, Howard Zinn has given us our true story, the ongoing, not-so-secret narrative of
race and class in America.” —Russell Banks
Paper 978-1-58322-628-5 $22.95 672 pages
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Readings from Voices of a People’s History
of the United States
Edited by Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn
Authors Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove are joined on this audio
CD by Danny Glover, Sarah Jones, Paul Robeson, Jr., Lili Taylor,
Wallace Shawn, and Marisa Tomei to perform rousing words of
dissent selected from the complete anthology.
Audio CD 978-1-58322-752-7 $14.95 45 minutes
Artists in Times of War
Zinn’s essays discuss America’s rich cultural counternarratives to war, from
grassroots pamphlets to the likes of Bob Dylan, Mark Twain,
E. E. Cummings, Thomas Paine, Joseph Heller, and Emma Goldman.
“The essays are all elegantly written and relate history to the great crisis of
current times: war of aggression, western state terrorism, and obedience to
state power under the guise of patriotism.” —Tanweer Akram, Press Action
Open Media Book / Paper 978-1-58322-602-5 $9.95 160 pages
Howard Zinn on Race
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Howard Zinn on History :nd edition
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Howard Zinn on War :nd edition
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These three companion volumes are handy
pocket guides on the taboo subject of race, on the power of history when it is put to the
service of the struggle for human rights, and on the meaning of war in a world where we have
so far proven unable to overcome our primitive predilection for destroying our neighbor.
On Race Paper 978-1-60980-134-2 $14.00 192 pages / On History Paper 978-1-60980-132-8 $14.00 192 pages /
On War Paper 978-1-60980-133-5 $14.00 192 pages
Terrorism and War
Edited by Anthony Arnove
Zinn explores how truth, civil liberties, and human rights become the first
casualties of war and examines the long tradition of Americans’ resistance
to US militarism.
“A significant number [of students] say that this and other books from a
radical perspective have transformed their understanding of US society,
politics, and culture.” —Darrell Y. Hamamoto, University of California, Davis
Open Media Book / Paper 978-1-58322-493-9 $9.95 144 pages
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The Zinn Reader
Writings on Disobedience and Democracy, 2nd Edition
The definitive collection of Zinn’s writings on the great subjects of our
time—race, class, war, law, means and ends—now updated with thirteen
recent essays.
“A welcome collection of essays and occasional pieces by the dean of radical
American historians.”—Kirkus Reviews
Paper 978-1-58322-870-8 $21.95 752 pages
La otra historia de los Estados Unidos
“Zinn’s work is a classic of revisionist history, bringing forth voices that have
previously been muffled. He lets women, African Americans, workingclass
people, and, yes, Hispanics speak for themselves. This Spanish edition
should prove popular in both public and academic libraries.”
—Library Journal
The first Spanish-language edition of Howard Zinn’s contemporary classic, A People’s History
of the United States.
Paper ISBN 978-1-58322-054-2 $19.95 504 pages
Seven Stories is pleased to support the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between
Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, dedicated to introducing middle school and
high school students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United
States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. Visit the web site to see
how you can bring Zinn’s teaching into the classroom, showing students that history is made
not by a few heroic individuals, but by people’s choices and actions.
A People’s History for the Classroom
Bill Bigelow
Activities and projects for middle school and high school classrooms, inspired by Zinn’s A
People’s History. Available fromThe Zinn Education Project: http://www.zinnedproject.org
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