Expert Answer:Biases in Historical Perspectives discussion

  

Solved by verified expert:History is colored by people’s perspectives. In this learning block, you will analyze personal assumptions, beliefs, or values that could influence the historical research of a topic and introduce bias into the project’s results. Personal assumptions, beliefs, and values can inject bias into historical writing and may influence the conclusions. This may be intentional or not. Assignment:Prompt: After reviewing Zinn’s and Schweikart’s personal assumptions, beliefs, and values through excerpts from their historical writing, respond to the following questions: What do you believe to be the major distinctions between the two’s personal assumptions, beliefs, and values?  What do you believe to be the major distinctions in their interpretations of history?  Do you notice any biases? If so, what are they?Rubrics: Focus of Response:Provides focused and direct reflection to answer questions posedLength of Response: Answers provided are two to three sentences in lengthCommunicates Clearly: Clearly communicates key ideas and thoughts in a short answer response
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Howard Zinn
Larry Schweikart
Perspectives: A Tale of Two Historians
In history, bias is defined as the incorporation of personal
assumptions, beliefs, and values into historical writing.
Sometimes this bias is conscious, and other times it is
unconscious. Reading a bit more about a historian can help you
understand their personal assumptions, beliefs, and values. In
turn, this can help you understand what biases they might
potentially introduce in their writing.
Two major historians, Howard Zinn and Larry Schweikart, have
written popular books on American history containing very
different historical interpretations of the same events. Explore
this interactive resource on Zinn and Schweikart to learn about
their different personal assumptions, beliefs, and values that
might influence how each historian interprets historical events
and might introduce bias into their writing.
Perspectives: A Tale of Two Historical Biases
Now that you have learned a bit about Zinn’s and Schweikart’s
personal assumptions, beliefs, and values, take a look at how
they have written about the same historical events: Christopher
Columbus’s arrival in the Americas in 1492. As you read through
each excerpt, be sure to consider what biases may be present in
their work.
Howard Zinn
Zinn, H. (2010). A people’s history of the United States. New
York, NY: Harper Perennial. “To emphasize the heroism of
Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and
to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but
an ideological choice. It serves—unwittingly—to justify what was
done.
My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge,
condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be
a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance
of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for
progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization;
Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation,
to save us all)—that is still with us. One reason these atrocities
are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of
other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the
earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion
of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most
respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of
moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the
scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from
politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly.” (p.
9)
Larry Schweikart
Schweikart, L., & Allen, M. (2004). A patriot’s history of the
United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the war
on terror. New York, NY: Sentinel. “The five‐hundred‐year
anniversary of Columbus’s discovery was marked by unusual and
strident controversy. Rising up to challenge the intrepid voyager’s
courage and vision—as well as the establishment of European
civilization in the New World—was a crescendo of damnation,
which posited that the Genoese navigator was a mass murderer
akin to Adolf Hitler.
Even the establishment of European outposts was, according to
the revisionist critique, a regrettable development. Although this
division of interpretations no doubt confused and dampened
many a Columbian festival in 1992, it also elicited a most
intriguing historical debate: did the esteemed Admiral of the
Ocean Sea kill almost all the Indians? A number of recent
scholarly studies have dispelled or at least substantially modified
many of the numbers generated by the anti‐Columbus groups,
although other new research has actually increased them.” (pp.
7–8)

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