Gideon v. Wainwright and the modern criminal justice system

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Gideon v. Wainwright and the modern criminal justice system

(an activity-based lesson plan)

What was the importance of the Gideon v. Wainwright decision in a historical context?

NCSCOS U. S. History Goals/Objectives:

11.02 Trace major events of the Civil Rights Movement and evaluate its impact.

11.03 Identify major social movements including, but not limited to, those involving women, young people, and the environment, and evaluate the impact of these movements on the United States' society.

11.06 Identify political events and the actions and reactions of the government officials and citizens, and assess the social and political consequences.
Main Ideas:

The student will be informed of:

  • The important leap that the Gideon decision made within the court system

  • The improvement in the affairs/rights of the poor and less fortunate due to the decision

  • The decision was a part of an evolutionary process that began in 1853

  • Gideon’s effect on the extension of the sixth amendment



Critical Thinking

Cause and Effect


Group Work

Oral Communication

Access to the primary source documents mentioned in the resource section

Internet Access


Print Copies of primary/secondary documents

Poster board

Markers/glue/scissors/other artistic mediums

Overhead projector/overhead copies of documents

MP3 player--Computer with speakers

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