The "Government Programs and the Welfare of Citizens" Project

ASSIGNMENT: This project will involve RESEARCHING an episode from the relatively recent history of the United States in which the United States performed actions that may not have been in the best interest of its citizens.  In addition, students will be ASSESSING THE VALIDITY OF SOURCE INFORMATION gained in research.

THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS:  The following list shows the project topic assignments for all students. If your topic is assigned in error, please see Mr. B. as soon as possible. Students will be asked to research, analyze and report on their topic for the rest of the class. :

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
Paige B.
Sami S.
Matt L.
Cole M.
Voice of God Weapon
Kevin W.
Project SHAD
Morgan P.
Kyle F.
Brody C.
Human Radiation Experiments
Kayleigh K.
Michelle G.
Morgan C.
Flouoride in Water
Zakk W.
Adan H.
Skylar R.
Operation Big Buzz
Clay R.
Brandon T.
Poisoning Alcohol
Emma H.
Danielle J.
Kimberly W.
Patriot Act
Taylor K.
Destiny M.
McCarthyism of the 1950s
Levi V.
James D.
Alyssa P.
Wyatt L.
Operation Paperclip
Casey B.
Austin S.
Drew B.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Erin S.
Theo Z.
Operation Northwoods
Brooke A.
Amanda T.
The Church Report
Matt H.
Dakota N.
Rick B.
Crispen R.
Sierra S.
Operation Mockingbird
Marissa V.
Beatriz G.
Kennedy Assassination
Tony D.
Tyler C.
Jami S.
Iran-contra Affair
Andrew C.
Cody S.
Sean B.
Testimony of Nayirah
Bree M.
Google Street View
Cesar F.
  • Experimentation on Citizens:  U.S. government experimentation on citizens-
    • The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment:  Did the government infect poor black men with venereal disease for over 40 years?
    • Project MKULTRA:  Did the government conduct a 20 year experiment where soldiers and students were given various drugs, hallucinogens and other mind-altering substances?
    • The "Voice of God" Weapon: Does the CIA have the ability to make you think that you are hearing the voice of God in your head and are they using this as a weapon?
    • Project SHAD: Did the government really use chemical warfare on our own soldiers?
    • Human Radiation Experiments: Did the government expose thousands and thousands of citizens to radiation over a 30 year period, just to see what might happen?
    • Fluouride in the Water Supply-  Why do we continue to have fluouride in our water supply? Is it as dangerous as it sounds? Does it really lead to mind control?
    • Operation Big Buzz/Drop Kick/Big Itch: Did the governement really conduct multiple experiments in the U.S. to test biological warfare using bugs?
    • Poisoning Alcohol: Did the Federal government really poison the alcohol that was sold by the public during Prohibition in the 1920s and '30s?
  • Limiting Civil Liberties:  Government limiting the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.
    • The Patriot Act:  Did the government completely throw out the Constitution and citizen's rights in an attempt to "catch terrorists"?
    • McCarthyism of the 1950s:  Was EVERYONE a communist in the 1950s?  McCarthy thought so and did what he could to find them.
    • NSA: Has the National Security Association been tracking everyone's phones and computers for the last 10 years?
  • Foreign Policy Issues: Control or manipulation of foreign agents and government to further United States interests.
    • Operation Paperclip: Did we really recruit a large number of Nazi war criminals to help us design the Atomic Bomb during World War II?
    • The Gulf of Tonkin Incident: Did the United States government invent a military skirmish that eventually led to the Vietnam War?
    • Operation Northwoods: Did the CIA commit acts of terror within the U.S. and blame it on Cuba, so as to justify military action against Cuba?
    • The Church Report: Was the CIA responsible for poisoning and assassinating a number of South American leaders in an effort to destabilize governments?
  • Control of the Press and Information
    • Cointelpro: The FBI, through the program called "Cointelpro," targets 2000+ prominent citizens for smear campaigns.
    • Operation Mockingbird: Did the CIA control the American and foreign press for over 20 years?
    • Kennedy Assassination: Was there a government cover-up of what really happened to JFK in Dallas?
    • Watergate:  Did the President cover up office break-ins that he conducted to further his own campaign?
    • The Iran-Contra Affair: Did we sell arms to Iran in exchange for hostages? Did the CIA get the money for these arms by selling illegal drugs in our country? What did the president know?
    • The Testimony of Nayirah: During the Iraqi war, did the government hire an actor to testify about war crimes in Iraq? Where did she come from? Why did she say what she said?
    • Google Street View: As google drives around taking street level photographs for Google Maps, are they stealing all of your WIFI and password information? What does this mean for your privacy? Can the government access this information?

RESEARCH AND PRESENTATION:  Students will be required to thoroughly research their topic and give a presentation regarding their topic which outlines (at a minimum) ALL of the following information:

  • The history of your event/program from beginning to the end.  What happened, when (dates), how and why? Who was responsible for the program?
  • Students will be expected to come up with DOCUMENTATION regarding their project, either in the form of original government documents, scans of newspaper headlines/stories, political cartoons, photographs, etc. These will be demonstrated during the presentation for the class.
  • A discussion regarding the credibility of the sources that are reporting on your topic. Sources like "" will not be useful on this project.
  • Detailed information regarding how the government was involved. What did/does the government claim they were doing?
  • How were U.S. citizens harmed, deceived, used, limited, deprived of freedoms or not informed?
  • What should we learn from this event?

SOURCE MATERIAL: Students will complete a detailed CITATIONS PAGE that lists and LINKS AT LEAST THREE sources of information used in their presentation. This will be completed in GoogleDocs and will be shared with Mr. B. for grading purposes. In addition to the standard citation information, students will also need to describe in a sentence WHY the source material cited should be considered as valid source material, according to the parameters set up in the class lecture regarding source material.

FORMAT:  Presentations can be given in any format, although it is recommended that students come up with a CREATIVE and INTERESTING approach to their information.  If the presentation is a PowerPoint, the presentation should not be simply read out loud by the presenter. COPYING and PASTING information or other items will NOT BE TOLERATED!  Plagiarized material will be strongly punished.

PRESENTATION: Should a student begin their presentation without being properly prepared or appearing to be knowledgeable on their topic, they will be stopped and asked to rework their presentation and present it at a later time. Should this occur, the student will incur a late penalty.

GRADING: The presentations will be judged based on three criteria: 

  1. PRESENTATION: Professional and creative presentation: How well does the student present their information, visuals, etc. How confident was the student in their presentation? TOTAL= 50 pts.
  2. INFORMATION imparted on the presentation: How thoroughly does the student address the required points above and impart that information to the rest of the class. How knowledgeable does the student appear to be on their subject? TOTAL= 50 pts.
  3. SOURCE MATERIAL: Did the student justify their source materials according to the criteria set out in our lecture? Did the student properly share their citations page and reasoning behind the use of their source materials with Mr. B.? TOTAL= 50 pts.

FOLLOW-UP: There will be a follow-up essay quiz on the information covered in this presentation and in this unit. It will consist of an in-class essay in which the student is going to make arguments regarding Ronald Reagan's famous statement: "Trust but Verify" with regards to our government in 2014. In this essay, students will be expected to present AT LEAST three examples from the class presentations for this project. Students will be allowed to use any NOTES taken on these presentations in their essay.