Famous Trials Seminar: Sample Multiple Choice Questions
(relating to Amistad, Oscar Wilde, Chicago 8, Chamberlain, and Thaw trials)

1.       Which of the following is not a reason that Lewis Tappan and the Amistad Committee had for defending the Africans of the Amistad?

(A)  They were concerned about the safety and well-being of the captives.
(B)  They saw the controversy as an opportunity to build support for the abolitionist cause.
(C)   They believed that freedom for the captives might lead to an opportunity to bring Christianity to Africa.
(D)   They were anxious to take any action that might weaken support for the pro-slavery Van Buren Administration.

2.       What would have been the likely result if, as the Van Buren Administration urged, the court had accepted the demand of the Spanish government that the Amistad captives
 be returned under Pinckneys Treaty of 1795?

(A)       The captives would have been transported to Africa on a Spanish ship.
(B)       The captives would have been transported to Spain.
(C)       The captives would have been transported to Cuba, where they would have become the slaves of Montes and Ruiz.
(D)       The captives would have been transported to Cuba, where they would have been executed.
3.               Oscar Wilde sued Queensberry for doing what?

(A)       For publicly declaring Wilde to be a homosexual.
(B)       For trespassing, after he barged into his home and demanded that Wilde stop seeing his son.
(C)       For leaving a card with a porter identifying Wilde as a “posing” sodomite.
(D)       For publishing in the magazine Chameleon an article accusing Wilde of committing “gross indecencies” with dozens of men.

4.  How might Wilde have avoided arrest and imprisonment?

(A)       By confessing and apologizing.
(B)       By fleeing to France.
(C)       By accepting the Magistrate’s demand for a one hundred pound bribe.
(D)      By agreeing to withdraw from publication his offensive writings.
5.       Who made the decision to prosecute the “Chicago 8?”       

(A)       Attorney General John Mitchell.
(B)       Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
(C)       Mayor Daley.
(D)       J. Edgar Hoover.

6.       Which best describes the philosophy of the YIPPIES, as represented by Chicago 7 defendants Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin?

(A)       The YIPPIES were primarily an anti-war organization.
(B)       The YIPPIES were primarily an organization promoting black empowerment.
(C)       The YIPPIES were primarily an organization promoting nudism.
(D)       The YIPPIES were an organization promoting cultural revolution.
(E)       The YIPPIES were the youth branch of the national organization, HIPPIES.
7.       What development convinced investigators in the Chamberlain case that Lindy Chamberlain, and not a dingo, was responsible for her daughter’s death?

(A)       Azaria Chamberlain’s matinee jacket was discovered in the Chamberlain garage.
(B)       No dingo DNA was found on the torn clothing of Azaria Chamberlain.
(C)       Investigators learned that “Azaria” meant “sacrifice in the desert.”
(D)       A forensic expert concluded that fetal blood was present in Chamberlain’s car.

8.              Suspicions of the Chamberlains in the public seemed to be increased by which of the following?

(A)             The Chamberlains participated in séances.
(B)               The Chamberlains were members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, thought by many Australians to be a “cult.”
(C)              The Chamberlains were vegans.
(D)             The Chamberlains were “Goths” who always dressed in black.
(E)       The Chamberlains practiced astrology and planned their behavior based on horoscopes.

9.              Who was Anthony Comstock and what role did he play in the Stanford White murder case?

(A)       Comstock was a moral crusader who appeared as a defense witness at the trial to describe the depths of Stanford White’s depravity.
(B)              Comstock was a member of Stanford White’s “Sewer Club” who provided evidence for the defense of White’s practice of deflowering young girls.
(C)              Comstock was a moral crusader who Harry Thaw supplied with evidence about White’s sexual activities in the hopes that Comstock would help bring down the famous architect.
(D)             Comstock was a close friend of White and testified at the trial that White had only the best of intentions with respect to Evelyn Nesbit.
(E)           Comstock led efforts to have White’s Diana statue removed from the top of Madison Square Garden, but had no connection to Harry Thaw or his trial.

10.              What was the defense strategy at the first trial of Harry Thaw?

(A)             The defense argued that the shooting was “a moral necessity” to prevent White from ruining more young girls in the future.
(B)              The defense argued that Thaw was insane, as he suffered from a serious mental illness that had a long history in the Thaw family.
(C)              The defense argued that Thaw’ killing of White was justifiable homicide, as America has long recognized the right of a husband to avenge the sexually assault of his wife.
(D)             The defense argued that White was responsible for his own murder, because on the night of his killing Thaw was in a drug-induced frenzy and his drug addiction was directly attributable to White’s rape of his wife.
(E)              The defense argued that the killing was in self-defense, as White had previously threatened to kill Thaw.