Arguing a Political Position

“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.

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