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Mock trials

Research, preparation, rehearsals, and enactment of three or four famous trials from U.S. history coordinated with topics in the Contemporary U.S. Culture course.

Recreating important trials from U.S. history. During the preparation, students learn the historical context and the judicial process. During the recreation, students practice speaking and performance skills. The book below has materials for five trials.

trial materials

Salem Witch Trials – 1692 – contextual resources

Boston Massacre – 1770 – contextual resources

Fuigitive Slave Law – 1859 – slavery

Andersonville Prison Camp – 1865 – Civil War

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – 1951- Cold War espionage – contextual resources

Other trials

The Trial of Susan B. Anthony – 1873 – women’s right to vote – contextual resources

The Haymarket Riot Trial (State of Illinois v. Albert Spies, et al.) – 1886 – eight-hour workday – contextual resources

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial – 1911- safe working conditions – contextual resources

Leo Frank Trial – 1913 – contextual resources

Black Sox Trial – 1921 – cheating in professional sports – contextual resources

Sacco-Vanzetti Trial (1921)

Leopold and Loeb Trial – 1924

Scopes “Monkey” Trial – 1925  – teaching evolution in schools – contextual resources

Scottsboro Boys Trials (1931-1937)

Alger Hiss Trials (1949-50)

Brown v Topeka Board of Ed. – 1951 – school desegregation

Emmett Till Murder Trial – 1955

Confidential Magazine Trial – 1957

Lenny Bruce Trial – 1964 – free speech and censorship

Mississippi Burning Trial (1967)

Chicago 7  Trial (1969-70)

My Lai Courts  Martial – 1970 – war crimes

Pentagon Papers (Ellsberg) Trial – 1973 – freedom of the press

Ruby Ridge  (Weaver) Trial – 1993

O. J. Simpson  Trial – 1995- equal justice for all? – contextual resources

Clinton Impeachment Trial – 1999 – contextual resources


Famous trials over the freedoms and rights of U.S. citizens

Religion – 1600′s

* Salem Witch Trials – 1692 – contextual resources

Leo Frank Trial – 1913 – contextual resources

Scopes “Monkey” Trial – 1925  – teaching evolution in schools – contextual resources

Political Independence – 1700′s

* Boston Massacre – 1770 – contextual resources

Freedom of Speech/Press –

The John Peter Zenger trial in 1735

Pentagon Papers (Ellsberg) Trial – 1973 – freedom of the press

Lenny Bruce Trial – 1964 – free speech and censorship

Race and Slavery – 1800′s, 1900′

Dred Scott Decision (1856)

Fugitive Slave Law – 1859 – slavery

Brown v Topeka Board of Ed. – 1951 – equal protection (school desegregation) – contextual resources

Scottsboro Boys Trials (1931-1937) – contextual resources

O. J. Simpson  Trial – 1995- equal justice for all? – contextual resources

Sports – 1900′s

Black Sox Trial – 1921 – cheating in professional sports – contextual resources

Patriotism / Treason

* Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – 1951- Cold War espionage – contextual resources

Sacco-Vanzetti Trial (1921)

Leopold and Loeb Trial – 1924

Alger Hiss Trials (1949-50)


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