A People’s History of the United States


Historical writing is different from any other type of writing because it is factual and is meant to give an accurate account of events. Unlike fictional writing that gives the writer room to be creative and funny, this genre has to combine the skills of cohesive and flowing writing with the accurate presentation of details. Therefore, historical writers use certain skills, one of which is the presentation of evidence as a way of making their articles authentic and believable.

For example, the articles The Atlantic 1941 by Charles C. Mann and Columbus, the Indians and Human Progress rely on the description as the primary technique through which they seek to present their initial reactions to the discovery nature of the explorations they seek to highlight. For example, Mann talks about the Indians trapping fish in flooded grasslands (Mann par 8) while the Columbus article describes Arawak men and women emerging from their dwellings naked (par 1). In this case, the articles describe the first experiences of an explorer in a new land. The evidence here is that of details, and this makes the reader get a feeling of authenticity. Without such details, it would be difficult for the reader to rate the articles as authentic descriptions of visits to new lands. Therefore, one can conclude that the articles talk about experiences of explorers in new places that they seek to conquer, the initial reactions of the natives to the visitors, and the thoughts that dominate the minds of the explorers on their first contact with the native inhabitants.

The writers give these descriptions for the benefit of the reader who has not had an opportunity to visit these places. The writer is aware that the reader relies on the writings to know what there is when the explorer lands. They further use a combination of factual writing and artistic skill in making sure the reader has as close a view of the episode as possible, which is successful in a writing of this nature. It is because the reader is not left wondering what there is, but he gets as close as possible to getting the details they need. Furthermore, the writer does not seek to excessively interpret the events to the reader, which is a good skill of writing. Instead, he gives the raw details and hopes the reader will experience the shock and surprise the same way the explorer experienced them. 

When critically analyzed, the articles are well written, and it is evident that the writer had the reader in mind in the process. The technique of avoiding excessive interpretation is effective in expository writing, which is the main style used in most historical writings. However, the article on Columbus includes some emotional angle although it is purely from the details Christopher Columbus witnessed and though, such as his cruel treatment of the natives to get more wealth. However, one can conclude that the articles’ style of writing is effective and communicates the purpose of the writings well.


Historical writing combines both fact and skill, which is meant to make the reader not only enjoy reading them but also get as many details as possible about the issues being described by the writer. The author needs to have the reader and the possible interpretation he will have while reading the article before deciding on the styles to use in writing. These two articles provide a good example of well-written pieces of historical writings.

Works Cited

Columbus, the Indians and Human Progress

Mann, Charles C. The Atlantic 1941

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