1-2 Page Persuasive Essay: Has America Succeeded In Realizing the Founders' vision?

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Performance Task Unit II

The Declaration of Independence: How Does it Stand Up Today?

When Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers conceived and created the Declaration of Independence, they made some very important observations and claims about the nature of mankind and the proper function of government. As time has gone on, many important changes have occurred in the United States.

Think about the message proclaimed by the Declaration of Independence. Then think about what life is like now for the citizens of the United States. 

Your assignment is to write a persuasive essay, using the elements we have discussed in class (claim, counterclaim, refutation, call to action, ethos/logos/pathos, forms of support such as facts, statistics, examples, anecdotes) that addresses the following prompt:

Prompt: Has America succeeded in realizing the Founders’ vision? 

If so, explain how.

If not, what has gone wrong?


Research

Your performance task must include information that you have found doing research. Your research can be from a .org, .edu, .gov, website, newspapers, books, magazine. 

Performance Task Requirements

  • One to two full pages.
  • Use MLA format
  • Do not write in first person
  • Include a title
  • Do the prewriting
  • Include a works cited page 
  • Include at least four in-text citations
  • Follow suggested paragraph layout. This will make sure you include all persuasive elements.

Suggested Paragraph Layout:

Paragraph 1: Introduction. You want to establish the idea  of your prompt. Your reader should know that you’re going to be looking at the promise and intent of the Declaration of Independence and whether or not it has been fulfilled. 

Make sure to include your claim.

Do not:

--Introduce yourself

--Saying “I’m going to be writing about . . . ‘

Paragraph 2: Supporting paragraph. You now need to give support for your claim. 

Use facts or statistics or examples or an anecdote to support your claim.

Paragraph 3: Another supporting paragraph. You need to give additional support for your claim. Use either facts or statistics or examples or an anecdote to support your claim, but do not use the same type of support that you used in paragraph 2. 

Paragraph 4: Give a counterclaim. This should be a common reason why someone would disagree with your claim. You might use several sentences to present this. 

Then give your refutation, explaining why the counterclaim is wrong. This needs to be convincing! You can include facts or statistics or examples or an anecdote to support your refutation. 

Paragraph 5: Conclusion. 

Your conclusion should address your prompt and claim, but: 

Do not give any new supporting information.

Do not repeat sentences you have already written

Do not say “I have told you,” or “I have written,” or anything like that. 

Include a call to action.


Class Brainstorm Session

Idea Generation: To help us get started, we want to come up with some ideas as a class. Sometimes we learn a lot from considering other peoples’ ideas and viewpoints. Sometimes we harm ourselves by refusing to listen to others. It’s okay to disagree. It’s not okay to ignore or dismiss others just because their ideas are different. 

So I want you to come up with one idea for each side of our topic. This will require that you consider both sides of the argument. 

1. What is one way in which the United States has followed through on the ideas presented in the Declaration of Independence? Be specific, don’t just say, “It’s a good country.” That’s too vague. In what way is it a good country?  


2. What is one way in which the United States has not followed through on the ideas presented in the Declaration of Independence? Be specific, don’t just say, “It’s a bad country.” That’s too vague. In what way is it a bad country?



Research Sources: List five internet sources that you believe would be sources of reliable information that students could use.



Prewriting

My claim:

America has failed in realizing the Founding Fathers vision   

My counterclaim: 

My refutation:

My call to action:

Paragraph support: What facts, statistics, examples, or anecdotes will I include to support my claim? 

Paragraph support: What facts, statistics, examples, or anecdotes will I include to support my claim? 

Paragraph support: What facts, statistics, examples, or anecdotes will I include to support my claim? 

Paragraph support: What facts, statistics, examples, or anecdotes will I include to support my claim? 

Information Sources: What three sources of information did I consult to gain understanding about this topic?


Prewriting:

Claim

Argumentative: Claim, counterclaim, refutation, anecdote, example, stats, cause and effect,

Counterclaim must give a specific reason.

Refutation must respectfully explain why the counterclaim is wrong, or does not defeat the claim.

Include references to original documents (DOI, Common Sense, Speech to the Convention)

Include researched references to modern events, life ideas, or conditions in America.


Things you might consider:

Rights of different groups of people.

Ability to be happy in modern America.

Something Covid related.

Is it possible for all men to pursue happiness and liberty?

Can the government help secure rights?

Is it possible for the government to do anything without stepping on somebody’s rights?

Are there problems which are unsolvable? Why are they unsolvable? 

Must present to be eligible for A or B.

Rubric

Guidelines 

MLA

No I my me we us our

Works Cited page

Bibliography

Prewriting

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