Benjamin Harrison Day

This scripted trial commemorates the anniversary of the 1871 U.S. Supreme Court case of Ex Parte Milligan.  Lambdin Milligan, a Hoosier from the Fort Wayne area, was an outspoken critic of the Civil War, Governor Oliver P. Morton, and President Abraham Lincoln. 

Following a speech urging people to resist being drafted into the army, Milligan was arrested charged with treason and brought to Indianapolis for trial.  The script re-enacts excerpts from Milligan's three separate court cases including the military tribunal held in Indianapolis, the appeal of his death sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the civil suit following the overturning of his conviction.

Teachers are encouraged to use the materials below in their own classrooms to follow Milligan's struggle through three different court systems.  Resources provided include the script, a teacher's guide, and historic documents related to the case.

The play was written with the intention that an adult play the role of Milligan and with students filling all of the other roles such as Milligan's attorneys, the U.S. Supreme Court justices, soldiers, jurors, President Lincoln,  Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Hendricks, and Governor Morton.  It works well with students from 4th-12th grade.

This program was developed by Courts in the Classroom and the President Benjamin Harrison Home with funding from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law Alumni Association.

CITC staff would be happy to talk with you as you plan your event.  Send pictures following your production and we may include them in our online photo gallery.