This course will explore the rise of right-wing dictators in the twentieth century in Central America as well as the Caribbean. Students will examine documents that have encouraged as well as challenged the phenomena. Students will examine the overthrow of President Arbenz in Guatemala and the legacy of the dictators who followed him, and the rise of Papa Doc in Haiti and the effect of his rule on the country. Students will write two four-page papers and a series of one-page papers.

The Declaration of Rights of Man
Le Code Noir
The Monroe Doctrine
Corrolary to the Monroe Doctrine "The Big Stick Policy"
Central Intelligence Agency Mission Statement
Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
The Fifties by David Haleberstam
Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change by Stephen Kinzer
Papa Doc, Baby Doc by James Ferguson
The Haitian Americans by Flore Zephir
Media Used: 
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. House of Un-American Activities http://www.nps.gov/archive/elro/glossary/huac.htm
United Fruit Company ufc.org
Foreign Policy in Focus fpip.org
Central Intelligence Agency cia.gov
David Halberstam's The Fifties (1997) Directed by Tracy Dahlby
Divine Horseman Directed by Maya Deren
Significant Assignments: 

Write 2 analytical papers throughout the semester arguing or refuting the following:
America has the right to interfere in the political and economic affairs of our neighbors in
Central America and the Caribbean.
The Central Intelligence Agency's work in Central America and the Caribbean helps to
preserve America's security.

Revise papers to meet PBAT standards for written work.

Analyze and compare and contrast the texts of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Le Code Noir.

Discuss and evaluate the 1950's as a time of "happy days" versus the days of witch hunting.

A series of arguments and debates from multiple point of views concerning: America's paternalistic role in Latin America versus a country's right to self-determinism; the role of the CIA; the reason for the fall of President Arbenz and the rise of of President Duvalier; whether capitalism and democracy can co-exist with a healthy tension.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Create a dialogue between the right and left concerning support for Duvalier.

Enact monologues and dialogues between historical characters: Duvalier, Napoleon, Dessalines, President Monroe, President Roosevelt, President Arbenz, George Tenet, President Obama.

Panel discussion and questions with Haitians of three generations.

Display selection of human rights artifacts gathered from websites, human rights organizations, and newspaper clippings on dictators that have been supported by the American government.


Research and present a dictator of your choice discussing the political and economic legacy of the leader and rate the leader based on their imprint.

What right-wing and left-wing dictators do you hear of in the media today? Do they pose a threat to our security and/or to the population that they rule over? Does America's use of the CIA to overthrow some leaders of other countries contradict our country's commitment to democracy?

Sample PBATs: 
What gives America the right to interfere in the governments of countries in the Western Hemisphere?
How does a country change under a left wing dictatorship versus a right-wing dictatorship?
Which Haiti was worse for the people: the pre- or post- Papa Doc regime ? How does the role of Cenral Intelligence Agency affect democracies in Latin America?