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Western Civilization I (HUM 26-102): Legal Brief Essay: Legal Brief Essay Assignment

Assignment consisting of writing a legal brief contesting or supporting a hypothetical United Nations trial of these historical figures and events - Amenhotep IV and his actions leading up to and during the Amarna Revolution, . Alcibiades of Athens and



The Scenario

After the invention of the time machine last year, the members of the United Nations felt it necessary to go back to the a past to bring charges against individuals who were not charged with crimes in his/her lifetime, but whom the UN members thought should have been.  The members of the U.N. have decided to begin with the ancient and medieval world.  You have been appointed as a member of a legal team hired to investigate whether charges should or should not be brought against the defendant.

The Cases

1.       The United Nations vs. Amenhotep IV (Case No. 15-10201)

RE: his actions leading up to and during the Amarna Revolution

2.       The United Nations vs. Alcibiades of Athens (Case No. 15-10202)

RE:  his actions during the Peloponnesian War

3.       The United Nations vs. Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) (Case No. 15-10203)

RE: his actions against Rome in the first century BCE.  

4.       The United Nations vs. Henry IV of Germany (Case No. 15-10204)

RE:  his actions in the Investiture Controversy

5.       The United Nations vs. King John I of England (Case No. 15-10205)

RE: his actions leading up to the First Barons' Revolt & the Magna Carta

You are responsible for writing the legal brief in which you argue whether there are grounds (i.e. enough evidence) for or against the case going to trial. You will also have to determine what the charges should be if you are writing against the defendant.  If you are writing in support of the defendant, you will need to anticipate what the prosecution will say and what charges they might draw up. 

The Assignment

You are to select one of the above options and then argue whether a trial is warranted.  In other words, you need to assess the viability of the trial and any possible charges.  You will then conduct research on the events under examination to find evidence for your position (either for or against the case going to trial). I highly recommend beginning with your textbook.  Finally, you will write a 1500 word (minimum) paper laying out the argument for or against the case going to trial. You are permitted a maximum of 2000 words.

SOURCES:  You are required to use a minimum of four sources apart from the textbook (total minimum of 5 sources including Hunt textbook).  Internet sources (.com, .org, .gov, etc.) must be pre-approved by the instructor via email before use.   It is recommended that students make use of the internet source books available through the course Webliography.  Students need not have sources found in the Webliography pre-approved.

The authors of these sources can serve as your witnesses or evidence you are presenting to the UN tribunal.  For instance, you could say “Lynn Hunt wrote about Julius Caesar’s affair with Cleopatra which violates Roman mos maiorum. This violation of traditional Roman values suggests that a trial is warranted.”  You would then need a footnote citing that information after you mentioned the information specifically.  See the Citation Guide under this link for further information on how to cite correctly to avoid plagiarism.

You are free to use your imagination here insofar as your information is historically correct; you also need to present that information in a grammatically and syntactically sound way. NUMBER ONE RULE: Do not use phrases such as "I think," "I believe," or "I feel."  See the Style Guide below this link for further information.

Writing is a process that in most cases is not accomplished in one sitting.


Rough Draft due Nov. 12
Peer Review due Nov. 24


The Rough Draft, due Nov. 12, should be a minimum of 1500 words (maximum of 2000).  The draft should attempt to address what the opposition might claim (i.e. you will need to consider what the other side is arguing and then refute their claims).

You are required to use a minimum of four sources apart from the textbook (total minimum of 5 sources including Hunt textbook).  Internet sources (.com, .org, .gov, etc.) must be pre-approved by the instructor via email before use. 

Formatting:  The paper must be typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins and in 12 point Times New Roman font. Footnotes and Works Cited must conform to the Citation Guide.

Failure to abide by the word count guidelines results in a percentage reduction.  In other words, if you write 1250 words—83% of 1500—then, 17 points will be deducted from the overall score.

Failure to cite your sources properly will result in a zero. Cases of plagiarism will be referred to the department chair to undergo review with regard to the University’s Academic Honesty policy.  Refer to the Statement on Plagiarism below this tab for further assistance.

Refer to the Late Work policy in the syllabus for information on papers submitted after the deadline.

All parts of this assignment must be submitted to by the assigned deadline or late penalties will be assessed.


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