The curriculum is designed to introduce one of the basic tenets of American democracy and how it’s been affected in times of war, primarily the Civil War. After the students learn what, the writ of habeas corpus is, where it came from and how it works the majority of the time will be spent studying the actions of President Lincoln during the Civil War.
There are three primary goals. The study of the writ of habeas corpus will serve as the template for the study of other key individual rights enjoyed by Americans. This curriculum will be the starting point for students in learning about the principles of American democracy. Second, the students will learn that the pressure on maintaining individual rights increases during times of war and that those rights can be lost. Third, the situation that faced President Lincoln at the beginning of the Civil War, and the actions he took, will provide the context for a more detailed study of habeas corpus. The students will do their own individual research as part of this phase and present a paper on an aspect of the application of the writ of habeas corpus in American history.