By Howard Zinn
Recognized for its energetic, transparent prose in addition to its scholarly study, A People's heritage of the U.S. is the one quantity to inform America's tale from the viewpoint of -- and within the phrases of -- America's ladies, manufacturing unit staff, African american citizens, local americans, operating negative, and immigrant employees.
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Additional resources for A People's History of the United States : 1492-Present (Perennial Classics)
In 1757, Boston officials spoke of "a great Number of Poor ... " Kenneth Lockridge, in a study of colonial New England, found that vagabonds and paupers kept increasing and "the wandering poor" were a distinct fact of New England life in the middle 1700s. James T. Lemon and Gary Nash found a similar concentration of wealth, a widening of the gap between rich and poor, in their study of Chester County, Pennsylvania, in the 1700s. The colonies, it seems, were societies of contending classes-a fact obscured by the emphasis, in traditional histories, on the external struggle against England, the unity of colonists in the Revolution.
There were 25,000 people living in New York (there had been 7,000 in 1720) when the French and Indian War ended. A newspaper editor wrote about the growing "Number of Beggers and wandering Poor" in the streets of the city. " Gary Nash's study of city tax lists shows that by the early 1770s, the top 5 percent of Boston's taxpayers controlled 49% of the city's taxable assets. In Philadelphia and New York too, wealth was more and more concentrated. Court-recorded wills showed that by 1750 the wealthiest people in the cities were leaving 20,OOQ pounds (equivalent to about $5 million today).
It was in his economic interest to keep women servants from marrying or from having sexual relations, because childbearing would interfere with work. " Servants could not marry without permission, could be separated from their families, could be whipped for various offenses. Pennsylvania law in the seventeenth century said that marriage of servants "without the consent of the Masters .. " Although colonial laws existed to stop excesses against servants, they were not very well enforced, we learn from Richard Morris's comprehensive study of early court records in Government and Labor in Early America.