American Justice on Trial

Lesson Overview:

This lesson is designed to raise students' awareness of events surrounding Japanese American internment during World War II, as well as the political and human rights issues that are associated with this episode. It is based on a mock trial in which the United States government is being prosecuted for its actions by an international tribunal. The activity can benefit students on a practical level by familiarizing them with the workings of the American legal system, and also by increasing their awareness of rights built into the Constitution which are relevant to their own lives.


H/SS Content Standards:

11.7 Students analyze the American participation in World War II, in terms of:
5.the constitutional issues and impact of events on the U.S. home front, including the internment of Japanese Americans (e.g., Fred Korematsu v. United State of America) and the restrictions on German and Italian resident aliens; the response of the administration to Hitler's atrocities against Jews and other groups; the role of women in military production; the role and growing political demands of African Americans

12.3 Students evaluate, take and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of civil society are (i.e., the autonomous sphere of
voluntary personal, social, and economic relations not part of government), their interdependence, and meaning and importance for a free society, in terms of:
4.comparisons between the relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracies and the relationship of government and civil society in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes
Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills Grades 6-8

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

1.students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons learned


Geoff Lillich, edited for online use by David Finch


Grade Band:


Integrated Subjects:

U.S. History



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