Missouri State Archives
Man's Best Friend:
The Old Drum Story
Guided Discussion Questions
The Death of Old Drum
- 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?
- 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
- What do you think made Burden decide to sue?
- How does the appeal process help maintain fairness in the judicial system?
- Was it reasonable that the lawsuit progressed all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court?
- How does this case illustrate the phrase, “due process of the law”?
- Was it rational for an individual to use the court system to get justice for a dog?
Old Johnson County Courthouse
- Why is the preservation of the Old Courthouse important to architects and historians?
- What do you think makes a property of historic value?
- 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
- How was representation by prominent lawyers important to the case? Do “celebrity lawyers” have an impact on court cases today?
- What future role did each lawyer play in Missouri or U.S. history following the trial?
- How did the law firms in the case mirror Missouri’s involvement in the Civil War?