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Judgment Day: Napoleon on Trial in Kent Manno's World History Class
Meghan Podimsky

Starting on Tuesday, February 6, Mr. Kent Manno's World History classes began their mock trial in the Media Room right off of the School Library. The reason for this trial? Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was charged with one count of attempting to conquer Europe for his own personal gain.

The Mock Trial process provided students with an opportunity to develop crucial skills, such as public speaking, critical thinking, and the ability to create a persuasive and coherent argument. During the process, students dressed up in suits, some even coming in costume, to portray the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and jury members.

world history mock trial

The trial was presided over by the "Honorable Judge Manno," who followed all standard courtroom procedures according to our judicial system. "Following normal court procedures, lawyers attempted to sway the jury to their position as witnesses carefully answered questions," said Manno.

This trial aimed to assess Napoleon Bonaparte's actions and determine whether he was a patriotic and great leader or an ambitious dictator. The charge against him was whether he conquered Europe for his own benefit or for the good of France. The trial followed the French legal principle of "guilty until proven innocent," which meant that the defense had the responsibility to prove that Napoleon was not guilty.

mock trial in world history class

Students gained valuable life skills through the mock trial model, including crafting thoughtful opening statements, questioning witnesses, and delivering closing arguments, despite not being trained attorneys. These skills will be useful in future interviews and public speaking engagements.

student taking notes during mock trial

Mr. Manno reported, "Students engaged in intellectual discourse and debate without resorting to personal attacks. Well done men!"