In your essay, you will focus on one court case, involving homicide and which was reviewed by a superior court in either Canada or the United States between 1890 and 2002.
For the proposal you need to include three things:
Main Question: How do the circumstances of this case demonstrate that the law is organic and historically contingent?
Questions to Help You Answer the Main Question:
1. What were the precedents for the question that came before the USSC/SC?
2. How did the circumstances of the case reflect its historical context?
3. How did the decision in the case reflect the historical circumstances? (if you want you can think about the make-up of the Court at this time).
4. Did the case make new precedent? How? Why?
In order to answer all of these questions you need to consult not only the case law, but more importantly history texts from and about the time that the case occurred. For instance, if you were looking at Powell v Alabama you would consult history books about the American South in the 1930s, lynching in the early 20th century, the lives of African Americans in the 1930s etc. You can also look at primary sources from the period, such as newspapers, to understand the social climate at the time.
1. Clarify which case you are looking at, when the case occurred and a brief summary of the details of the case.
2. A tentative bibliography that should be in proper citation style (Chicago Manual of Style which is available online and in the library). You must include at least 5 sources (one can be the case) in your bibliography.
3. A tentative thesis. Your thesis can change throughout your research, but it important that you include this so that I can help you formulate a strong thesis. An essay is only as good as its thesis. Below are some pointers on how to do this.