Civil Liberties vs. National Security: A Wartime Balancing Act

This lesson will focus on the case Korematsu v. U.S. in comparison with other times in U.S. history when the government was faced with the challenge of how to protect the country during war and, at the same time, protect individual freedoms. Using primary sources, students will examine five events in which U.S. citizens were forced to give up their civil liberties in times of war, highlighting the tension between liberty and security. Students will analyze these events to determine what groups were affected and the reasoning for and against the government action to decide if the government action was justified. Students will be able to form an opinion on the essential question: Is our government ever justified in restricting civil liberties for the security of the nation?

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