Abstract 7- Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 2007

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 2007



Balancing Liberty and Security: From the Early Republic to the War on Terror

Veronica Cruz Burchard
The Bill of Rights Institute


The eternal question posed by students, “Why do I have to learn this?” is being answered for them every day in the newspapers and on television with respect to the balance of liberty and security in time of war. Teachers often express the need for focused materials that approach this question from both historical and modern perspectives, and this high-school lesson provides that. The Latin maxim, Inter arma enim silent leges, translated, “In time of war the laws are silent” expresses the doctrine that security trumps liberty in wartime, but in this lesson, student will ask, “Is liberty necessarily the price of security? How have United States governments justified the curtailment of liberty in wartime?” This lesson presents students and teachers with hands-on focus activities, student manipulatives and role-plays, and primary source document analyses that will lead students to appraise the cost of security and whether the Constitution can be preserved by being abridged.

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About the Author(s)…

Veronica Cruz Burchard is the Director of Curriculum Development for the Bill of Rights Institute, an Arlington, Virginia, based non-profit dedicated to educating teachers and students about their constitutionally-protected liberties and how those liberties affect and shape a free society.
After receiving her MA in English at the University of Florida in 1996 and teaching high school for seven years, Veronica joined the staff of BRI where she has served as the editor and chief instructional designer of six sets of curricula including The Bill of Rights for Real Life and Media and American Democracy. Contact information: The Bill of Rights Institute, 200 N. Glebe Rd. ste 1050, Arlington, VA 22203, ph: 703.894.1776 ext. 17, fax: 703.894.1791.