History Quest: Habeas Corpus & the Civil War

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Blog, She Wrote: History Quest- Habeas Corpus & the Civil War

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Welcome to the first History Quest at Blog, She Wrote! As part of our studies using All American History Volume II by Bright Ideas Press, our high schoolers are working on history projects of their choice. Rebecca, our 9th grader, chose to write a History Quest for my blog based on something she is learning in modern American History. She gets to choose what catches her eye whether it’s the focus of her study or not. Each week you’ll find a new History Quest mostly written and prepared by her with some of my own text thrown in to round things out (with maybe less of that as she gets a groove!). We hope you’ll enjoy these brief moments of explorations with us!

A note from Rebecca: I will be writing History Quests once a week for my mom’s blog. The topics will somehow relate to what I’m learning. This week’s History Quest: Habeas Corpus during The Civil War.

What is Habeas Corpus?

  • Habeas Corpus is a Latin term. What is the literal translation?
  • Habeas Corpus is a writ. What is a writ?
  • What is the purpose of this writ?
  • What is a petition?
  • Who can make a Habeas Corpus petition?
  • Who has to give the evidence first?

Habeas Corpus during the Civil War

  • What happened to Habeas Corpus during the Civil War?
  • Who suspended it first?
  • Why did he suspend it?
  • What did it allow the Union Army to do?
  • Why was this important?

Website Resources

Habeas Corpus and Lincoln’s Proclamation were briefly mentioned in her reading for this week and it caught her eye. Rebecca decided to learn more about what it is and why it was changed during war time. Here are a few websites she used to read more about the topic. As you might have guessed, she used her Kindle for research!

  • The ‘Lectric Law Library– A library of law references great for citing legal references such as Habeas Corpus. While the author seems to have a sense of humor, use caution as the funny stuff may be too mature for your audience!
  • The Free Legal Dictionary– Everything you wanted to know about law in the form of the dictionary.
  • About.com Historic US Documents– This link provides information on Lincoln’s Proclamation during the Civil War from the legal powerhouse About.com.

This exploration of the law lends itself quite well to discussion and if your kids are interested, it might be worth researching the topic with regard to current events.

We are studying modern American History this year from The Civil War and reconstruction up to current times. Join us on our weekly History Quests!

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  1. LOVE!! My 6th grader is starting to show interest in Law, and It will be so awesome to bring this out for him!

  2. Heather and Rebecca,
    This was fun! Megan and I were able to do this exercise from the couch. Everyone listened as we searched out the answers. Then we discussed countries that do not recognize habeas corpus (or do officially recognize it but do not always practice it), specifically with Christians being imprisoned indefinitely with no trial or appeal before judge or jury.

    Also, looking up the origins of habeas corpus somehow led to Megan noticing the coat of arms of England and other countries, which led to searching out the meanings of heraldry symbols, and finally, to her designing a coat of arms for our family. And it was all so informal and easy–not like a lesson at all!

    We look forward to the next edition of History Quest!

    1. Sarah!
      Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us. We are so glad you tried it out! I’m looking forward to the next installment as well.

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