An Analysis Of Howard Zinn's A History Of The New World

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There are myriad viewpoints on the motives of the explorers to the New World. Some authors, like Howard Zinn, argue that the European explorers primarily came for wealth and other valuable commodities, while Paul Johnson claims that the exploration to America was based on the need for religious freedom, and not so much on the riches that subsequently came with the nearly untouched land. While America was an ideal place to escape the strong clutch of Catholicism, it cannot be ignored that the pull of wealth drew many onlookers, as seen in Zinn’s work. From the greed of the explorers stemmed the exploitation of the Native Americans, the land they lived on, and the rush for riches that struck through Europe. Therefore, it is evident that Howard …show more content…

From the unhealthy obsession for affluence by European explorers came the inevitable defeat and subjugation of America’s original people, the Native Americans. In Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, he begins with the first meeting between the Arawaks and Christopher Columbus. Columbus’s following log describes the peaceful nature of the Arawak people, and that they could be easily conquered given if Columbus had enough manpower (Zinn 1). Zinn furthers his point of capitalist-fueled exploration by saying, “These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messengers to the Americas, Christopher Columbus” (Zinn 1). The Europeans didn’t understand the giving nature of the Indians and took advantage of them and their land, driven by their need for wealth. Johnson, on the other hand, doesn’t openly deny that gold had a hand in the exploration of the Americas; he instead glazes over the topic of the New World’s evident riches,

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