Arguing a Political Position

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“Everything we say or do presents some kind of argument, takes some kind of position. Often we take overt positions . . . all of those positions are arguable – people of good will can agree or disagree with them and present reasons and evidence to support their positions.” (The Norton Field Guide to Writing 82) The Unites States faces many pressing issues today, and the American people are currently sharply divided politically. For this assignment, choose a controversial issue within American political life of interest to you. Research it carefully, then write a 5-7 page essay (10-12 point font, 1”margins, double-spaced) that takes a clear position on the issue. What do you favor or oppose and why? How would you convince someone who is undecided to support your position? How would you answer the arguments of those who disagree with you? Your Essay Should Include: 1. An introduction that gives necessary background information about the topic (including an introduction of two or more of your sources) and appeals to your audience. 2. A thesis statement that takes a clear and arguable position on the policy or practice that you’ve chosen. 3. Good reasons and convincing support for each reason. This support can come from firsthand accounts, articles from 75 Thematic Readings, or the online reserve, and library/Internet research. It is best to have a mix of different types of evidence. 4. Properly documented quotes or paraphrases from at least two peer- reviewed articles from Proquest. 5. Appeals to readers’ values and a formal, trustworthy tone 6. Appropriate organization and paragraphing, including use of clear topic sentences. The paragraphs should be in a logical order and use transitions to show links between ideas. 7. Careful consideration of other positions. You should include at least one example of counterargument – at least one objection to your own argument that is fairly represented and then refuted. 8. A conclusion that provides closure to the essay and considers the implications of the argument. 9. Consistent, correct use of MLA style. 10. Observance of the conventions of formal standard written English. Optional Prewriting Assignments: (typed): Due ___________________ (Extra Credit) 1. Brainstorm a list of at least eight controversial issues within American political life. Reading a daily newspaper will really help if you’re having trouble. 2. Circle your top two choices. Read through what you’ve written and put a star next to the one you are most interested in – this will be your topic. 3. Begin your research. Once you have a good sense of the issues involved with your topic, make a chart that lists the possible options for how history will view your topic. Under each possibility, list several reasons for this view (make sure to have at least four entries under each column). 4. After completing the chart, look over your lists and decide which makes a stronger argument – that will become your position. Write a tentative thesis based on your ideas so far. 5. Develop more reasons for your argument. Think of your reasons as responses to someone questioning you about why you believe in your thesis statement (your reasons may come from your chart in #3 above but you will also want to include more). Make sure to list at least five reasons. 6. List at least three pieces of support for each of your reasons. Your support should be specific evidence that proves your reasons. Your support may come from firsthand accounts, 75 Thematic Readings, from Proquest, or from the Internet. It is best to have several different types of support. 7. List at least three possible objections to your argument (you may find it helpful to look at the chart you created for #3 above) and then your responses to these objections. You will probably not use all three in your eventual essay, but this will give you some ideas to choose from. 8. Create an outline of your essay, listing the topic sentences and details for each paragraph that will appear in the essay. Be sure to include full topic sentences. • Rough Draft (must be typed): Due ___4-17-19_____ Bring three copies of your rough draft to class for peer review (essays must be at least 4 full pages long to receive credit). This is a very important stage in the writing process, so be sure to put your best effort into your rough draft. • Final Draft (must be typed): Due ____ 4-24-19_____ Bring the final draft of your essay and the corrected rough draft in a manila envelope with your name, “Essay #2,” and “Eng. 101” on the outside. You may also include any completed Peer Review forms that have not already been turned in.

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