Author Archives: Katie F.

Research Annotations

Johnson, Loch K. “Congressional Supervision of America’s Secret Agencies: The Experience and Legacy of the Church Committee.” Public Administration Review 64, no. 1 (2004): 3-14.

Author and political scientist Loch Johnson analyzes the creation of the Church Committee and its dealing with United States secret agencies. He argues that the creation of these agencies was grounded in the need to protect the United States against foreign attacks, but also poses a threat to democratic society. He draws on sources such as political theory journals, as well as intelligence and counterintelligence records, to support his argument. His work provides a view of secret agencies that is less grounded in skepticism, as many works tend to be, and more grounded in professionalism that can be accredited to his editorial position for the Journal of Intelligence and National Security. Loch’s piece will be useful for me because it provides a professional view of the Church Committee and its proceedings, and provides a modern context to the activities of secret agencies during the Cold War.

Falcoff, Mark. “Head-Hunting: Assassination As a Policy.” The National Interest, no. 24 (1991): 103-05.

American scholar and policy consultant Mark Falcoff examines the role of planned assassinations in the activities of the secret service. He argues that assassination attempts were common under many presidents during the Cold War, especially in Latin American countries, such as Chile and Cuba. He uses proceedings from the Church Committee itself and pairs it with historical documents from Cuba and other countries to emphasize the role that secret agencies played in Latin America. His scholarship provides a way to see the effects of alleged misconduct by United States intelligence and counterintelligence in Latin American societies. I will be able to utilize this work to analyze the Church Committee’s proceedings and how they related to the Latin American countries whose leaders’ lives were possibly in danger through assassination attempts.


My Wikipedia article is titled “Church Committee,” and as the title suggests, it is a comprehensive overview of the creation of the Church Committee and its purposes. It does not dive deeply into the significance of the Church Committee in Latin American history and society, but it does mention a few Latin American leaders that were targets of alleged assassination attempts, including Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Fidel Castro (Cuba). The article utilizes articles from multiple left-wing news outlets, such as ABC, CNN, and New York Times, as well as Congress proceedings and books. I would improve this source by possibly including more citations, as they are not extensive and there are places where they are needed and are not present. I would also suggest expanding the scope of the sources used by possibly examining conservative sources to balance the overuse of liberal media, which would lend more credibility to the article and also provide more sources to cite.


For my research I will be analyzing the Church Committee and its dealings with the CIA. I want to look at the investigations that took place and examine the findings in relation to the influences the Cold War had on the sudden excess of intelligence expenditures. This research will provide specific insight into the United States’ relationship with Cuba during this time, which in turn helps to interpret current relations, and possibly even improve them. Personally, I hope to gain a better understanding of political interactions between the United States and Latin American countries, and I think the Church Committee hearings and results will give quite an interesting lens through which to view these interactions.

Research Annotations

“Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State.” The SHAFR Guide Online, n.d., 499–507.

Stuart McCook, a professor of history at the University of Guelph, with a focus on environmental history and tropical plants, wrote an excerpt in “Colonial Crucible,” titled “The World was my Garden.” In this article, McCook discusses the rise of domestic agricultural research, and how it spurred a demand for American experts in the study of tropical plants. He spends a great deal of time unpacking the reasons for this expansion, which he notes is mainly imperialistic, and how this expansion led to a new generation of American experts in tropical botany. This research is useful for analyzing a different perspective of American imperialism in Latin America, specifically because its focus is unique from other accounts of the negative effects of American expansionism.

“Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State.” The SHAFR Guide Online, n.d., 163-174.

Pablo Navarro-Rivera is an Associate Professor at Lesley University. His section in “Colonial Crucible” was titled “The Imperial Enterprise and Educational Policies in Colonial Puerto Rico.” His entry began by introducing the value of education in American society and the role in played in American expansionism. He focuses on how Puerto Rico has been affected. His themes center around the direct governance that the United States adopted, as opposed to the indirect governance of the British and Spanish, and how this deep involvement within the country influenced it. He spends a great deal of time talking about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, or CIIS, and Puerto Rican attendance to the school in Pennsylvania. Navarro-Rivera’s research is useful in examining an aspect of the CIIS that does not receive as much attention as the more notable aspects of the school, such as its treatment of Native Americans.

The Public Promptly Christened us the “Rough Riders” Analysis

Roosevelt wrote this piece in 1899, recalling his resignation from his position as the assistant secretary of the navy and leadership within the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, or as they were affectionately called, the Rough Riders.

He begins his piece by describing the Rough Riders and the group’s creation. Stating that he was so overwhelmed with applications, within two days they had raised enough men to raise a “brigade, or even a division” (Raising the Regiment, para. 1). However, he discussed that the real problem lay in “arming, equipping, mounting, and disciplining” the men (para. 1). Many of the men did not ask for commissions, and were drawn with the same impulse to serve akin to the “same impulse which once sent the Vikings over sea” (para. 2). This is reminiscent of the drive that has characterized the American military since its inception: a hunger to fight for their country and a burning patriotism.

Roosevelt describes the men who came to serve, the majority of whom were from “Mexico, Arizona… Oklahoma, [and].. Indian Territory” (para. 3). He recalls the resolve of these men, saying that they were “tall and sinewy, with resolute, weather-beaten faces, and the eyes that looked a man straight in the face without flinching” (para. 3). He says they were comprised of “the cow-boy, the hunger, and the mining prospector” (para. 3). These descriptions are also suggestive of the the ideals that captured the typical, hardened American, living as a cowboy and making his own way. These descriptions were extremely favoring the American soldiers, talking of their resolve and willingness to put their lives on the line in the name of freedom.

The section titled “The Cavalry at Santiago” details the assault on Kettle Hill, and Roosevelt spends a decent amount of time discussing the colored men serving in the cavalry. From saying they behaved better than all the others, he then says that this was because they were “peculiarly dependent upon their white officers” (The Cavalry at Santiago, para. 1). He states that while the white soldiers were calm and collected under the rain of “bullets, shells, and shrapnel (para. 2), the colored infantrymen began to worry, and slowly started making their way to the rear, making excuses such as attending to the wounded and wishing to find their own regiments (para. 2). Roosevelt recalled pulling a gun on them, and telling them that he did not wish to harm any of them, owing to their gallant fighting (para. 3). They eventually agreed to stay with him, and he continues to say that the biases and prejudices, on both the white and colored sides, were eventually resolved and they saw each other as equals (para. 4).

This piece, although short, did have development throughout that suggested the prejudice within Roosevelt’s regiment was truly resolved. I saw this through his description of the white Southwesterners and the fact that “there could be no better material for soldiers” (Raising the Regiment, para. 5), to his description that the colored soldiers, saying, “No troops could have behaved better than the colored soldiers had behaved so far” (The Cavalry, para. 1). By the end he said that the prejudice had disappeared and all the soldiers got along, which I see an example of how hardship and strife can bring different groups of people together to fight against one cause.

Latin America – United States Relations Analysis

This source did a decent job, as far as Wikipedia articles go, of avoiding outright bias, citing well, and providing different perspectives to create a well-rounded informational text. Like most entries, however, it had a few places where improvements to argument, structure, and citation style, would have made the article more credible.

Firstly, the article did a relatively decent job at keeping bias to a minimum. It definitely seemed to be written from the perspective of someone not residing in Latin America, however, and I think it is safe to assume they may have been American. The author also tended to favor America slightly throughout the article. One example of this was when the Mexican-American war of 1846 was being discussed, and the article stated that “The American Military was easily triumphant” (Latin America – United States Relations; Overview, para. 2). This statement, while very obviously stating the superiority of the American military, does not explain this victory, leaving it up to the reader to make an assumption about this “easy” military defeat of the Mexican Army. For example, was it superior numbers that led to this victory? Geographical advantages? Tactical? None of these possibilities are mentioned. Many of the facts stated within the article, such as the example above, do not contain citations. However, the sources that are mentioned—including books, online sources, and the links—do not appear to have any apparent bias, although some links to tend to use language akin to the aforementioned “easily triumphant” claim, which may suggest bias toward one side or viewpoint of a particular group or person. Overall, the bias within the article was handled tastefully, if present at all.

The relevancy of the citations, facts, and links within the article seemed, at first glance, decently sufficient. Once I read further into the article, however, there were some phrases that seemed out of place at times, or unnecessary for the general understanding of the event or subject of discussion. This issue was not frequent nor consistent, but did happen noticeably a few times, which did prove to be a distraction, and hindered comprehension. Another issue the article had with distractions was the transitions. From paragraph to paragraph, most of the time the transitions were smooth and the timeline made sense. A few times, however, there was no transition and the timeline was as much as 50 years apart, with no mention as to why the events being discussed were related. For instance, between the fifth and sixth paragraph of the overview, the firth paragraph talks about the Mexican Revolution and a brief history and overview of the conflict. As it is mentioned, the Mexican Revolution took place in 1910 (Overview, para. 5). The next paragraph, however, jumps right into a discussion about the Cold War, which did not kick off until 1947. This gap, in both context and chronology, was not explained anywhere in the article. While this is not necessarily an issue that takes away from the content of the piece, it did make for an abrupt transition, and was stylistically unpleasant.

Many facts surrounding the overview section of the article that I mentioned above, and many others as well, did not include citations. There were links to different articles such as “Mexican-American War,” “France,” and “American Civil War” (Overview, para. 2), but these are not technically citations for facts. The few citations that do exist, however, seem to be reliable sources. There are a few books and online sources that are cited to back up information, but again, this does not even start until well into the overview section. There are, however, a plethora of links leading to other Wikipedia articles. These are typically just other countries, people, groups, or events that the reader may want to define or read into if they are unsure as to what or who they are. These links work for the most part, one link did not lead to an article, as Wikipedia claimed there was no article with that particular title. This did not prove to be an issue throughout the piece, all the other links led to other articles, and in the References page, the links I tried in there worked as well. Some links within the article seemed unnecessary, like “United States of America” and “Latin America,” (Introduction, para. 1), but this did not take away from the argument being made.

Although some links were unnecessary for understanding the argument, the article did tend to leave out perspectives that would have in turn enhanced the argument and provided better explanations for claims being made. As I read I was left wondering about the experiences, perspectives, and opinions of groups that were not mentioned. These included the citizens of the United States and Latin American countries, as well as military personnel, seeing as how there was a lot of discussion about battles and conflicts. This leads into the question of what was missing from the article. Overall, the article did a decent job of presenting a detailed timeline and a comprehensive history overview. Personally, I think diversity of perspectives was the main thing that was missing, as it would be interesting and beneficial to here more about the internal affairs of what was happening during the overarching events and themes that define the convoluted relationship between the United States and Latin America.

Rodo and Bolivar

On the whole, I thought Rodo’s piece was condescending, and ridiculously so. Although he does spend a decent amount of time discussing some good things about North American achievements and culture, he does so with snide metaphors and colorfully dull language that consistently hints at the faults behind those achievements. A quote that summarizes this goal is “But to ignore a North American’s defects would seem to me as senseless as to deny his good qualities” (34). He basically spends an entire paragraph, which spans two full pages (34-35), putting two or more metaphors into each sentence to try and spice up the point he is trying to make: that North America, while good at some things, lacks the general culture and intellectual sophistication and uniqueness that makes Latin American so great. He goes on to say that to try and better a country by taking after another that has achieved apparent success is a stupid idea, a statement that I blatantly disagree with, considering the fact that some countries are more successful than others, and that this is a natural characteristic of society. Bolivar’s letter, although similar to Rodo’s Ariel in some ways, is much less bold in stating disdain for North America, although he still does. On page 173, he condemns the United States for plaguing “America with miseries in the name of Freedom,” which seems a rather weak claim coming from Bolivar, who seems to be only a fearfully “obedient servant” (173) to the British Colonel. Both pieces are openly opposed to the United States and the greatness it has achieved, and I think they would both eat their words if they saw what else it has accomplished since the composition of their pieces.

Pike and Strong Summaries

Pike’s Wild People in Wild Lands and Strong’s The Anglo-Saxon and the World’s Future both center around very opinionated claims of Anglo-Saxons and the named or unnamed other. In Pike’s case, stereotyping is his focus as he discusses how every group has a set of stereotypes by which they judge other groups of people. He discusses how one group is seen as better, and that this “asymmetrical” relationship provides the ability to the “lesser” group to defame the better. Through the publication of his study, he hopes to show that Latinos have been equally “bigoted, extreme, irrational, and self-serving” in belittling North Americans, as North Americans have been to Latinos. This is an extremely strong statement, and he follows through by providing instances of 19th-century stereotyping that has continued into modern times, and listing the common stereotypes that many Americans hold of Latinos. These include “sexual abandon,” and profuse alcoholism. While citing evidence that these images are not completely unfounded, Pike ends by saying that many Americans have never traveled to Latin America, and therefore, are more likely to have pinned these stereotypes on the Latinos from travel accounts of others, which may or may not be truthful. Strong’s argument focuses more on what creates a successful society, which he claims are the two defining traits of Anglo-Saxon morality: “civil liberty” and “pure ‘spiritual’ Christianity.” He continues by stating that in order to compete with the advancement of Anglo-Saxon society, other societies must adapt and most likely adopt some aspects of Anglo-Saxon societies. Their arguments are not similar in evidence, but rather in the underlying point they make about Latin American societies needing to better themselves by standards set by Anglo-Saxon, or North American (named the “great home of Anglo-Saxons by Strong) population. Pike and Strong’s arguments are quite opinionated in that there is little room for counterargument, and very little, if any, is provided in either piece.

MLK Day of Service

As I will be unable to attend the campus events going on this weekend and on MLK Day on Monday, I will be writing about the importance of the holiday and the types of celebrations that take place nationwide to commemorate Dr. King and his work.

MLK Day is seen as a time to promote the rights of all people, regardless of race. It is a relatively new, federally-recognized holiday, and most educational institutions and business are closed for the holiday. Institutions around the country celebrate by having speakers come and talk about race, and service events take place, many aimed at giving back to the black community. There are seminars about Dr. King, his life, and how his work impacted the black community and their struggle for civil rights. One very popular discussion topic, at least that I have witnessed in the past and heard about, is talking about what can be done to further meaningful discussions about racial injustice (and how to remedy it) and how this applies to modern society and our lives. This encompasses the recognition of the discrimination and injustice that took place, and continues to take place, in the United States, and then actively taking a stand against racial injustice by becoming involved in activities that promote racial equality for all people.


Hi, guys!

I’m Katie, I’m a sophomore at the college, and I am planning to major in History and double minor in Anthropology and English. I am most excited about learning three major things over the course of this semester. I want to learn more about American government and military involvement in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution, as I do not believe this topic gets as much in depth coverage as it should in most history classes. I have always been very intrigued by the Cold War and the general ambiguity that surrounds it, so I’m looking forward to learning about it through the more focused scope of Latin American studies. I am also interested to talk about and analyze the immigration policies of America, as well as Latin America. I hold a viewpoint on immigration that typically differs from most of my peers here at the college, so I’m interested to see what discussions we will have on the topic.