Missouri Digital Heritage :: Education :: The Old Drum Story :: Guided Discussion Questions

Missouri State Archives
Man's Best Friend:
The Old Drum Story

Guided Discussion Questions

The Death of Old Drum

  1. Discuss the concept of historical and social context with the class.  How does the particular time period or social setting affect how people judge events?  Why was a hunting dog probably more important in the nineteenth century than it is today? 
  2. Should Hornsby have been held responsible for the actions of his nephew?  Why or why not?  Why was Hornsby charged and not his nephew?

The Burden v. Hornsby Trial

  1. What do you think made Burden decide to sue?
  2. How does the appeal process help maintain fairness in the judicial system?
  3. Was it reasonable that the lawsuit progressed all the way to the Missouri   Supreme Court?
  4. How does this case illustrate the phrase, “due process of the law”?
  5. Was it rational for an individual to use the court system to get justice for a dog? 

Old Johnson County Courthouse

  1. Why is the preservation of the Old Courthouse important to architects and historians?
  2. What do you think makes a property of historic value?
  3. What steps are involved in placing a property on the National Register of Historic Places? (Refer students to the National Register of Historic Places website, www.nps.gov/nr/ )

 Missouri’s Big Four

  1. How was representation by prominent lawyers important to the case?  Do “celebrity lawyers” have an impact on court cases today?
  2. What future role did each lawyer play in Missouri or U.S. history following the  trial?
  3. How did the law firms in the case mirror Missouri’s involvement in the Civil  War?