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Hermela Aramde Daniel Noyes US History 16 February 2018  Methods of Social Control         There are many ways people have been able to maintain control and power over others, but the three most important ones are violence, sexism (men having more power than women), and education (indoctrination to their authority). This is Howard Zinn’s main focus in his book A Young People’s History of the United States. This book questions the way things have always been and opened up many young people’s eyes to the reality and unfairness of our present economic and social system.        In the past, people instituted and maintained control by threating and using violence against those they were trying to control. An example given in the Howard Zinn book is “A man could physically punish his wife (although he could not kill her or give her a permanent injury).”  This supports the idea that men could intimidate women because they had less or no power. Men used violence/the threat of it to control the women around them. Also, in slavery, the slave owner used violence and the threat of it to keep the slaves down. Slavery was wide spread in the U.S South and as Zinn writes, “In North America, slavery became a wide spread substitute for paid labor.” In other words, slavery was an economic replacement for paid labor.    According to the article “Women’s Roles and Rights in the 1800’s,” the traditional model was that the husband ruled over his wife and children. Although the article talks about the later change where woman and men are partners in marriage, it still describes the original point of view where “husband ruled commandingly over his wife and children”. This relationship was very common throughout history and kept women as second-class citizens until they could find a voice and more specifically organize and claim their civil rights. But in the 1800’s women and children were almost considered the property of the husband and father.        Another way people maintained control over others was through the education system.   The article “For Over 100 Years The U.S Forced Navajo Students into Western Schools ” discusses how “children were divided into companies, issued uniforms, and marched to and from activities.” This authoritarian and militaristic system of education is a way that people maintained  control over students  by restricting their freedom and telling them what to do.  The U.S education system stressed obeying the authority of the white man and helped maintain a sexist, racist, and classist system.         Violence, sexism, and indoctrinating education are powerful tools of keeping people down. What primarily Zinn and other authors in historical articles show is how marginalized groups lack power to overcome power groups. Zinn’s book is so important and useful so we can use history and exaples of control to change . They’re always “kept down” while power groups are dictating to them. Zinn focuses on this dark process and illuminates past and current history.    

Categories: Education System


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