Learning Lincoln On-line


Abraham Lincoln, lawyer (Lincoln’s Hat Activity)-- Teacher Guide

Use A. Lincoln Law Papers On-Line


  Abraham Lincoln traveled around the countryside on his horse, Bob, or later would have the comfort of a "not so fancy" buggy.  He didn't take a large trunk of clothes, books or supplies, didn't have an S-U-V, or such convenience to carry his papers and necessary books.  He would have to pack the books and larger items in smaller sized saddle bags
         . .but legal documents and papers were stored in the lining of his tall hat.  This was a safe place and very convenient.   This Activity is Dedicated to Abe Lincoln's tall hat, and all cases that he won, or lost.

        TRIAL LAW has its' own special vocabulary.  Go to the Trial Law Vocabulary site to learn many of the words and meanings,.

Task One-- Complete the Lincoln, Lincoln the Lawyer Trivia Hunt
Task Two-- Choose a Lincoln case with a friend in class and decide how you would decide on guilt or innocence
Task Three-- Fill out the form on the 5 remaining 8th Circuit courthouses where Lincoln practiced law



Task One:  Lincoln the Lawyer Trivia Hunt

Use the Abraham Lincoln Online Photo Website about Lincoln's Law Career to find the answers.  Read each article with the photo to figure out the answer. 

Click the blue link button to go to the correct link for the answer.  Write your answers on a piece of paper.

1.  When did Abe become a member of the Illinois Bar?  How did he learn to be lawyer?  What did he have to do to get the license?  Click Here


2.  What was the "Circuit" that Abe and many other lawyers  would travel on during the year?  How long would a circuit tour last?  How did Abe travel on the circuit?   Click Here


3.  What big Illinois corporation did Abe work for as a lawyer?  Click Here to check Amy Yaeger's article about Lincoln and a railroad (on the Illinois Periodicals Online Project Site)  Click Here

4.  Did Abe ever defend a slave owner?  Who was the owner, and where did this case occur?  Click Here


5.  Isham Reavis wanted some good advice from Lincoln at New Salem on becoming a lawyer.  He talked about how to Study the Law.  Tell in your own words what Lincoln told Isham about concerning how to study.  Click Here


6.  Robert B. Rutledge described Abe, the law student.  Something happened to Abe after he started studying law.  Tell in your own words how much Lincoln likes studying law.  Click Here


7.  Fellow lawyer and partner in Springfield, Billy Herndon, described Abe's routine in the law office.  What often happened after he would return from lunch at 2:00?  Tell us in your own words why you think Abe had this happen so often.  Click Here


8.  When did Judge Nathanial Pope allow Abraham Lincoln to practice before the Federal Court for the first time?  (Date needed)  Click Here


9.  In 1842, Abraham Lincoln was the first to do something in the new State Capitol Library.  What did he do, and did he use his own name? Click Here


10.  How many cases did Abraham Lincoln and his law firm have before the Illinois Supreme Court in the new State Capitol.  Click Here


11.  How many Illinois counties were in the 8th Circuit in 1849?, (where Abraham served?)  Click Here


12.  Name the counties of Illinois in the 8th Circuit.  Did Abe practice cases outside of the 8th Circuit, such as in Coles County?  Use the same link to find the answer.


Go to Lincoln Hat Activity and Read a Case.  Within a group, decide how you decide on a verdict:  guilty or innocent.  Complete a trial court form, and write an opinion about the trial result.


1.  Select an actual court Abraham Lincoln the Lawyer Learning Activitycase from Abraham's tall hat file.


2.  Start by revAbraham Lincoln the Lawyer Learning Activityiewing and studying the "cast of characters" on this page.  Decide which of the characters you will include in your trial(s).


3.  Choose as many cases as you would like to hear, and then be the Judge.  Judge Davis was the judge of the 8th Circuit, in which most of these cases were heard.  Some cases are about business dealings, some about property ownership, some about Murder!


4.  While "judging" the case, you need to make sure the trial is fair, only the truth is said, and that the jury (if there is one) decides on their own.  You don't want any outside influence on the Jury's decision. 


5.  If a bench trial, the Judge (you), will have to decide guilt or innocence, or who gets the property.  You will have to render the verdict.  Remember:  a person is innocent until proven guilty. The state has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


6.  Click the link to get a trial reporting form and complete it for your case and trial.


7.  Judges often render an opinion on a case along with the final decision about what is to be done to the plaintiff.  Write a one page opinion (like an essay) on the final trial decision and results.  Include what you think happened to the plaintiff. 

Task Three:  Courthouses Activity

Go to the Macon County Courthouse site to start your search.  The Courthouses are in Illinois.

Go to the Abraham Lincoln Online Photo Site for the listing of Illinois Courthouses that Abe actually practiced.   After getting there, list five courthouses (still standing) and complete the table form below

Courthouse Location
Tell something interesting about the Courthouse, as relates to Abraham Lincoln


Mt. Pulaski






16the President Topics Index

Return to Learning On-Line Home Page