The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us

Watch The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us

  • 2017
  • 1 Season

No understanding of the past is complete without an understanding of the legal battles that have shaped it. In The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us, Professor Douglas O. Linder takes you back in time to revisit history’s most famous (and infamous) trials, including the Salem Witch Trials, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the Nuremburg Trials, and the Trial of O. J. Simpson.

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The O. J. Simpson Trial
24. The O. J. Simpson Trial
December 8, 2017
How did the trial of O. J. Simpson come to command such media attention? What about the case caused it to be viewed differently by people of different races? How did it change the way celebrity trials are handled? Explore questions about one of the 20th century's last great trials.
The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial
23. The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial
December 8, 2017
Professor Linder takes you inside the longest, most expensive criminal trial in American history (with a taxpayer cost of over $15 million dollars). It was also a trial that produced not a single conviction - but highlighted the dangerous problems that happen when police and prosecutors leap to conclusions.
The Trial of the Chicago Eight
22. The Trial of the Chicago Eight
December 8, 2017
It's been described as a travesty of justice. A circus. An important battle for the American people. A monumental non-event. Whatever conclusion you come to by the end of this lecture, few events better exemplify the conflict of values in the late 1960s than the trial of these eight radicals.
The Mississippi Burning Trial
21. The Mississippi Burning Trial
December 8, 2017
Discover how the Mississippi Burning case took the nation deep into the darkness of the Ku Klux Klan and its hatred. By the end of this lecture, you'll learn how the trial would go on to change the Klan, change Mississippi, and change the course of civil rights in America.
The Rivonia (Nelson Mandela) Trial
20. The Rivonia (Nelson Mandela) Trial
December 8, 2017
Why is the Rivonia Trial considered "the trial that changed South Africa"? Why did Nelson Mandela and his nine co-defendants seek to wage guerilla war against the South African government? How did the trial shape the future of South Africa, including Mandela's election as the country's first black president?
The Alger Hiss Trial
19. The Alger Hiss Trial
December 8, 2017
Probe the far-reaching political effects of the trial of former State Department official Alger Hiss for perjury. They include: catapulting Richard Nixon to national fame; setting the stage for Joseph McCarthy's Communist-hunting; and marking the start of a conservative political movement that would put Ronald Reagan in the White House.
The Nuremberg Trials
18. The Nuremberg Trials
December 8, 2017
No trial, according to Professor Linder, provides a better basis for understanding the nature and causes of evil than the war crime trials in Nuremberg from 1945 to 1949. In this lecture, your focus is on the first of 12 trials, regarded by scholars as "The Trial of the Major War Criminals."
The Trials of the
17. The Trials of the"Scottsboro Boys"
December 8, 2017
Examine how the legal nightmare of the "Scottsboro Boys" trials extended for decades. It launched and ended careers. It educated the public about the plight of African-Americans. It divided - then united - America's political left. And it illustrates what was wrong with America's justice system in the 1930s.
The Scopes Monkey Trial
16. The Scopes Monkey Trial
December 8, 2017
Defense lawyer Clarence Darrow also made history defending high-school teacher John Scopes at 1925's famous "Monkey" Trial. Discover how the case that put the theory of evolution on trial brought to Tennessee a three-time presidential candidate, a flock of international reporters, and the battle for 1920s social mores.
The Leopold and Loeb Trial
15. The Leopold and Loeb Trial
December 8, 2017
In the first of two lectures involving the nation's most famous defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow, focus on a trial involving a "thrill killing" by two rich and intelligent teenagers. Central to this lecture are Darrow's impassioned efforts to save the confessed murderers from the gallows by challenging the morality of capital punishment.
The Trial of Sheriff Joseph Shipp
14. The Trial of Sheriff Joseph Shipp
December 8, 2017
Go back to March 1909, when the Supreme Court assembled to do something it had never done before and would never do again: listen to closing arguments in a criminal case. Learn how Sheriff Joseph Shipp's trial impacted the act of lynching and its relationship to the rule of law.
The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
13. The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
December 8, 2017
Old Bailey, the main courthouse in London, was the scene for a set of trials that captivated England and the literary world. Celebrity, sex, wit, political intrigue, important issues of art and morality and sexuality - learn about the role they all played in the charges against Oscar Wilde for "gross indecency."
The Trial of Louis Riel
12. The Trial of Louis Riel
December 8, 2017
Few of us know about the 1885 trial of Canada's Louis Riel. Yet it's important for what it reveals about tensions in Canada that exist to this day: between native and non-native, French-speaking and English-speaking peoples. It's a trial, as you'll learn, that became a turning point in Canadian politics.
The Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Trial
11. The Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Trial
December 8, 2017
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln was only part of a larger conspiracy involving many men and women - eight of whom would be tried for conspiracy to murder the president and other officials. Join Professor Linder for a look at the verdicts, sentences, and procedures of the 1865 Military Commission.
The Dakota Conflict Trials
10. The Dakota Conflict Trials
December 8, 2017
The 392 Dakota Conflict trials led to the largest mass execution in U.S. history. It also marked the end of a legal process unlike any used before or since in the nation. Consider whether or not these cases were an appropriate end to the conflict between settlers and Native Americans.
The Amistad Trials
9. The Amistad Trials
December 8, 2017
Learn about the legal importance of the Amistad trials by exploring three questions they presented. First: Are the African mutineers criminals? Second: Are they property? Third: If neither, what should happen to them? The ensuing controversy, you'll learn, helped build momentum for turning public opinion in the North against slavery.
The Aaron Burr Conspiracy Trial
8. The Aaron Burr Conspiracy Trial
December 8, 2017
In great trials, can politics and justice ever be kept entirely separate? Explore this question by considering the conspiracy trial of Aaron Burr. This case, presided over by Chief Justice John Marshall, set the precedent that no one in the United States - even the president - is above the law.
The Boston Massacre Trials
7. The Boston Massacre Trials
December 8, 2017
A harbinger of the American Revolution, the Boston Massacre trials (and the reaction to the verdict) reflected the heated partisanship of the times. Central to this story is the young attorney John Adams, who paid a price for his decision to represent the accused British soldiers and their captain.
The Salem Witchcraft Trials
6. The Salem Witchcraft Trials
December 8, 2017
According to Professor Linder, the Salem witchcraft trials illustrate the danger of drawing conclusions ahead of evidence - and of dispensing with procedural rules that can save us from rushing to judgment. Gain a greater understanding of the legal basis for a travesty that accused hundreds of people of practicing witchcraft.
The Trial of Giordano Bruno
5. The Trial of Giordano Bruno
December 8, 2017
What made Giordano Bruno's ideas on natural philosophy so dangerous to 16th-century thought? Why does his execution represent a failure of the Roman Inquisition to perform its mission to admonish, not punish? What impact did this trial have on another heresy case fifteen years later: that of Galileo?
The Trial of Sir Thomas More
4. The Trial of Sir Thomas More
December 8, 2017
Travel back to Westminster Hall on July 1, 1535, when Sir Thomas Moore stood on trial for his refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. Discover the story of how one of England's most revered men ended up on the chopping block and why it is both important and instructive.
Three Medieval Trials
3. Three Medieval Trials
December 8, 2017
Explore medieval beliefs about justice through the lens of three strange trials from the Middle Ages. The first involves a dead pope put on trial. The second involves an accused adulterer's walk over red-hot ploughshares. The third involves a jousting battle whose victor will be vindicated as a matter of law.
The Trial of Gaius Verres
2. The Trial of Gaius Verres
December 8, 2017
Cicero's greatest desire was to save the Roman Republic. For this reason, he charged Gaius Verres, a provincial governor, with crimes against the people. Central to this insightful lecture are Cicero's five orations, the Actio Secunda, which aimed to educate the Roman public about the corruption and rot in its political system.
The Trial of Socrates
1. The Trial of Socrates
December 8, 2017
After learning what makes a trial historically important, begin your survey of some of history's greatest trials with a visit to ancient Athens. It's here, in 399 B.C., that Socrates undergoes his trial for corrupting Athenians and disrespecting their gods. In the process, he lectures his jurors on the duty of seeking the truth. #History
Description

No understanding of the past is complete without an understanding of the legal battles that have shaped it. In The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us, Professor Douglas O. Linder takes you back in time to revisit history’s most famous (and infamous) trials, including the Salem Witch Trials, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the Nuremburg Trials, and the Trial of O. J. Simpson.

  • Premiere Date
    December 8, 2017