LEO

Home » Posts tagged 'History Fellowship' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: History Fellowship

Decades of Deceit: Bernie Madoff’s Effect on SEC Regulation

By Blake Gattuso, VI Form

Decades of Deceit: Bernie Madoff’s Effect on SEC Regulation

Editor’s Note: This paper was completed as a part of the History Research Fellowship, a one-semester course available to sixth form students.

Seventeen billion dollars lost. Decades of deceit. Bernie Madoff’s fraud forever changed the lives of thousands and impacted the lives of millions.

“It’s a proprietary strategy, I can’t go into great detail,” said Bernie Madoff when he was asked to explain how he made such strong and consistent returns for his investors. This quote from his 2001 interview with Barron’s Magazine held true. Madoff would never go into “great detail” on this topic with anyone. Madoff did not tell investors about the strategy. Not even the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) examiners would get “great detail” about Madoff’s multibillion-dollar hedge fund. For more than thirty years, Madoff ran this scheme. And for more than thirty years, Madoff never went into “great detail” with anyone because his hedge fund was a sixty-five billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, not the top-performing hedge fund which it claimed to be.

Trusted capital markets are fundamental to the functioning of the American economy. Stock markets are places where companies raise capital from investors who buy corporate shares. Without these markets, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the American economy to efficiently allocate capital to productive uses represented in many American, world-leading companies, such as Apple, Google, General Motors, and Boeing. If investors lose faith in these markets and see them as fraudulent, the American economy will suffer. 

(more…)

Campaign Finance Deregulation and the Rise of the NRA as a Political Power

By Louis Lyons, VI Form

Campaign Finance Deregulation and the Rise of the NRA as a Political Power

Editor’s Note: This paper was completed as a part of the History Research Fellowship, a one-semester course available to sixth form students.

Children are led out of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, following the shooting.
Gavin Aronsen, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Deanna Pan, “What Happened in the Newtown School Shooting,” Mother Jones, December 14, 2012, accessed January 6, 2020

Twenty young children and six adults lay dead in a Connecticut schoolhouse. The culprit: a 20-year-old, heavily armed man wielding an AR-15, two semi automatic pistols, and a shotgun.

Eight years ago on December 14, Adam Lanza perpetrated the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which was among the most deadly school massacres in American history. It shook the American public to its core, and many demanded action to curtail gun violence. American politicians, however, did little in response. Such is the power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its ability to curtail the United States democratic process during the twenty first century.

(more…)

The Rise of Coca-Cola via Early 20th Century Advertising

By Jack Griffin, VI Form

The Rise of Coca-Cola via Early 20th Century Advertising

Editor’s Note: This paper was completed as a part of the History Research Fellowship, a one-semester course available to sixth form students.

The year was 1950 when America began attacking the French economy. This was by no means a conventional attack, and the United States government played no part in this decision. Instead, the American people were furious with France because it had banned the sale of all Coca-Cola products within its borders. Given that the brand had become a pillar of American identity, the French Parliament passed the ban in order to stop the wave of Americanization sweeping through Europe. 

When the French Parliament’s decision reached the U.S. on March 1, 1950, the American press began a vicious assault. “The Washington News complained about ‘the arrogantly superior French habit of snooting at our beverages, soft and hard, as so much dishwater.’” Other media comments ranged from “puzzled amusement” to New York’s Daily News suggesting “cutting off aid under the Marshall Plan.” The Coca Cola corporation played no part in inflaming the nation, but the United States saw an attack on Coca-Cola as an attack on the American way of life.

(more…)

Exploring the Mystery: The Evolution of Colonel Percy Fawcett’s Memory through Time

By Nathaniel (Nate) King, VI Form

Exploring the Mystery: The Evolution of Colonel Percy Fawcett’s Memory through Time

Editor’s Note: This paper was completed as a part of the History Research Fellowship, a one-semester course available to sixth form students.

Portrait of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett in 1911
“The Lost City of Z – New Exhibition,” The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, last modified May 14, 2018, accessed January 8, 2020.

After spending years in the Amazon, Fawcett was one of the world’s most prominent experts on the region. This, alongside his rough and adventurous demeanor, garnered Fawcett many supporters through the printing of his dispatches and reports in popular newspapers. Like athletes at the time, with the maturation of the newspaper, explorers were given a new level of name recognition. In 1925 Fawcett’s fame was at its peak as newspapers looked to cover his next expedition to find what could be one of the biggest discoveries of the century: an ancient city hidden deep in the Amazon jungle. Fawcett’s dispatches from this expedition were filled with detailed accounts of what he had encountered, and the public was voraciously reading each one until they suddenly stopped. Fawcett had predicted that he and his party might go silent for a few months at a time as they traversed difficult terrain under terrible conditions. However, as years began to slowly pass, people began to worry and speculate about what had happened to Fawcett. Several theories were churned out, yet as search parties looking for the truth came back with few answers, the mystery of Fawcett’s fate only became more alluring.

Why has an explorer who did not discover much that was historically significant been given so much attention both during his professional career and long after? Although Fawcett’s greatest accomplishments were mapping out portions of the Amazon rainforest, he has continued to be a figure of fascination today largely because of his disappearance. However, during his time he received just as much coverage by the media, albeit for different reasons.

(more…)

Native Americans in the Western Film Genre: An Evolution

By Colin Capenito, VI Form

Native Americans in the Western Film Genre: An Evolution

Whether it be a science fiction film that brings us on a journey to a distant galaxy or a fantasy movie that introduces us to knights and dragons, films can show locations and characters that do not exist in reality. However, film also has the ability to inform us about our own world. Film can remind us of forgotten history, give us new perspectives on historical events, and familiarize us with cultures different from our own. Because of this, the accuracy of the history and cultures portrayed within movies is crucial; if a film is truthful in its depictions, we are more knowledgeable of, and can make better decisions about, the world.

While not all films in the western genre are based on true historical stories, they feature settings, themes, and groups that did exist in the past. One group often portrayed within the genre is Native Americans. There is a history of stereotyping Native Americans in popular culture. Carlos Cortés lists some of these stereotypes:

…antiwhite antagonists (usually villainous); as sexual threats and conveniences; as noble savages; as victims (often passive) of prejudice and discrimination; and as stalwart (sometimes antiracist) heroes.[1]

In the real world, Americans have mistreated Native Americans throughout history. However, Native American treatment has evolved over time. In the early twentieth century, the government wanted assimilation for Natives, working to mold them into Americans, which entailed Natives being forced to abandon their culture.[2] During the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the government made positive strides in terms of Native American treatment, though termination policies in the 1950s, which included the U.S. government being able to cease protection of Native tribes, undid some of these positive changes.[3] But, groups like the American Indian Movement (AIM) rose in the late 1960s and 70s, helping to bring about policy changes and spark awareness over Native rights.[4] (more…)

Exploring the Hudson River School and Its Relationship with the Conservation Movement

By Leean Li, VI Form

Exploring the Hudson River School and Its Relationship with the Conservation Movement

Introduction

American Pulitzer Prize Winner Wallace Stegner once said: “National parks were the best idea we ever had.”[1] But, where does the idea of building a park come from? Today, it seems instinctive for everyone to want to protect the earth. However, this sentiment was not instinctive. Now, we all know that conservation focuses on protecting natural resources and the environment, but in reality, the word “conservation” as an environmental concept did not exist until the early twentieth century.[2] This concept to preserve actually grew out of the nascent conservation movement of the early the twentieth century, when President Teddy Roosevelt protected millions of acres of land by sheltering it in the National Parks and National Forests systems.[3] However, this desire to preserve our environment did not appear in Roosevelt’s time without roots. In fact, events before the twentieth century laid the foundation for environmental conservation. The birth of the conservation concept actually began much earlier in the nineteenth century.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution was at its height. The Revolution brought mass production and led people into more enjoyable lifestyles and increased consumption.[4] However, in the United States these changes had a very destructive impact on the environment.[5] Air and water pollution from coal-burning made cities like New York smoggy and dirty. Increased urbanization brought about increased water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid. Moreover, hazardous materials released from factories devastated health conditions of working families who lived near industrial settings. The boom in transportation also led to serious land degradation. Canals affected the natural routing of water and streams while construction of railroads forced deforestation and destruction of certain animal habitats.[6] (more…)

How Surrealism Shattered Social and Artistic Conventions in the European Interwar Period

By Oliva Hammond, VI Form

How Surrealism Shattered Social and Artistic Conventions in the European Interwar Period

Introduction

Creator: Dali, Salvador, 1904-; Date: 1929; Location: Spain

One of the most iconic Surrealist images is a single deep laceration into the eyeball of a subdued woman. It comes from Un Chien Andalou, a short movie by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel (Addendum 1).[2,3] The film exemplifies the horror and confusion that pervades Surrealism, but instead of employing it in a static painting, Dali and Bunuel prolong the enigmatic discomfort for over twenty minutes. Although the effect of the film may be horror, that was not its intent. Rather, the creators intended to forcefully open the minds of viewers to what they felt was the optimal perspective: the total loss of rationality and reason. Un Chien Andalou has many disturbing sequences of images, and, since it is a silent film, there is no explanation for the rapid changing in themes and characters.

In this movie, there are many unexplained phenomena that do not exist far outside the realm of our reality, but the film is still indecipherable when looked at with a traditional lens. This is the nature of Surrealism. In response to the turmoil of the First World War, there were certain groups that sought to change Western culture. These included the Dada artists, who created chaotic and unexplainable artwork, as well as avant-garde writers and musicians. Through their respective mediums, they took previous conventions and changed them to reflect the utter devastation that overcame Europe and made many question the rules of the existing order. Surrealists are perhaps the best-known example of a radical fringe group that worked toward the reversal of cultural norms during the interwar period. Just as in Un Chien Andalou, they coupled familiar concepts with disturbing alterations in order to provoke personal discomfort from their audiences. (more…)

The Presidential Bully Pulpit: Marijuana Policy and Rhetoric during the Nixon Administration

By Matt Walsh, VI Form

The Presidential Bully Pulpit: Marijuana Policy and Rhetoric during the Nixon Administration

I: Introduction

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” claimed John Ehrlichman, a Domestic Affairs Aide under President Nixon. He continued:

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be…against the war […], but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana […], and then criminalizing [it] heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.[1]

By the time of Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, marijuana had become more than just a psychoactive substance. For users, it was a symbol of rebellion. For socially conservative politicians like Nixon, it posed a threat to civilized society. In his 1968 campaign, Nixon promised to restore law and order to a country where civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests had become commonplace. As president, Nixon launched a War on Drugs, which included both a political and rhetorical crusade against marijuana. The drug symbolized the anti-war movement, so Nixon maintained a strict anti-marijuana stance to demonstrate his scorn for the movement. However, without the work of Harry Anslinger, the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) from 1930 to 1962, marijuana may not have gained the political clout that it possesses today.

A substantial amount of marijuana first entered the United States when Mexicans fleeing the Mexican Revolution crossed the border into the American Southwest and brought marijuana with them. Even though one Texan senator claimed that “All Mexicans are crazy, and [marijuana] makes them crazy,” the first major piece of drug enforcement legislation—the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914—did not outlaw marijuana.[2] Furthermore, a U.S. government committee formed in 1926 to investigate the smoking of marijuana by off-duty soldiers stationed at the Panama Canal found that the drug had no “appreciable deleterious influence on the individual using it.”[3] Only some western and southern states, where marijuana use by Mexican immigrants was more pronounced, criminalized the plant. (more…)