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The Argumentative Essay United States History. Mt. Lebanon High School 2011-2012. Gerald Graff, as quoted by Hillocks in English Journal as quoted by Viadaro in Education Week. “Recognize that knowing a lot of stuff won’t do you much good , unless you can
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The Argumentative EssayUnited States History Mt. Lebanon High School 2011-2012
Gerald Graff, as quoted by Hillocks in English Journal as quoted by Viadaro in Education Week. “Recognize that knowing a lot of stuff won’t do you much good , unless you can do something with what you know by turning it into an argument.”
An argument is… The reasonable, educated opinion of a writer that establishes a claim and offers evidence to prove it while mediating the opposition.
QUESTION: Should students who participate in after school activities be required to "pay to play"? YES! NO!
Features of the argumentative essay • You will take a side on the question, so your essay will clearly state a viewpoint. For example: QUESTION: Was Andrew Carnegie a robber-baron or a captain of industry? THESIS: Though he took advantage of his employees and the competition, it is Andrew Carnegie's personal initiative and innovation that clearly position him among America's most successful captains of industry.
Features of the argumentative essay • You will concede some of the opposition’s position, so you will include a concession. Think of the concession as a “yes, but” statement. Yes, acknowledge some of the opposition’s concerns, but follow with a rebuttal of your own position. For example: • Andrew Carnegie took advantage of his employees and his competitors. YES: • Andrew Carnegie’s personal initiative and innovation make him a captain of industry. BUT:
Concession statements • Concede some of the oppositions concerns. • Consider what you might have used as support for your argument if you had chosen the other side • To signal the contrast between the opposition’s argument and yours, it uses words like though, however, on the other hand, by contrast, yet, although, but, granted, naturally, of course, admittedly, naturally, or although it is true that. • Does not constitute an argument equal in size or scope to your own
Thesis statement • Present clear, concise, argumentative thesis that takes a side on the question. • Take a clear position on the question (Yes or no, Agree or disagree, It did or it didn’t) • Include an argumentative statement of WHY you agree or disagree, WHY yes or no, WHY it did or didn’t. • The thesis statement should include a reference to your concession statements in an effort to transition to your argument.
Concession AND Thesis Statement, for example Question:Was Andrew Carnegie a robber-baron or a captain of industry? CONCESSION • While Andrew Carnegie may have exploited his workers to help him succeed, POSITION • Andrew Carnegie’s role as captain of industry is clear • because his hard work, innovations in the steel industry, and philanthropic contributions positively affected America. ARGUMENT
Thesis statement practice Sample QUESTION Should students who participate in after school activities be required to "pay to play"?
Introduction • Introduce the topic; set the topic in the greater scope of history. • What is the context? • What preceded this topic historically? • How has this topic evolved from others like it? • What other events precipitated this topic? • 2-4 sentences • Transition clearly to the question. • Concede some of the oppositions concerns. • Present clear, concise, argumentative thesis that takes a side on the question.
In the last half of the 19thcentury, American industrialists were amassing great personal fortunes. Through business savvy, innovation, and enterprise, these men made their riches and also earned their reputations in American history. Those who exploited others on the road to wealth were branded “robber-barons.” Others, those whose personal success positively impacted the country as a whole, earned the title “captains of industry.” Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men is history was arguably both. Admittedly, Carnegie took advantage of his workers’ by forcing them to work long hours for low pay in unsafe conditions. Still, considering his rags to riches history, the way he revolutionized the steel industry, and, most importantly, his vast philanthropic contributions, Carnegie’s innovation and humanitarian efforts clearly merit him a post among the American captains of industry. Concede Thesis Introduce Transition
The Body Paragraphs CONTENT Include carefully selected details that advance the argument Include at least three different major topics, supported by 2-3 examples each Concede the opponents concerns EITHER in a paragraph, or throughout the ¶s. ANALYSIS • Use topic sentences to tie to the argument of the thesis • Discuss the significance of each example in relation to the topic sentence • Explain why these concerns aren’t as valid as the position of the argument.
Conclusion • Restate the thesis statement. • Review the basis of your argument (briefly summarize the why element of your thesis as supported by the topics of your body paragraphs.) • Put the topic into the greater context of history. • What follows this topic historically? • How have other topics evolved from this one? • What other events did this topic cause? • What might the impact of this topic be on the future?
QUESTION: Should students be required to "pay to play"? • Thesis: Though it seems to betray a student’s perceived right to participate, students should be obligated to pay to participate in school activities because the extracurricular nature of them places them squarely on the outside of the boundaries of required free and appropriate education. • It’s true that there are financial advantages for districts that require students to pay to play, but on the other hand, students should not be obligated to finance their own participation in a school activity because those who can't afford it shouldn't be deprived of the opportunities offered those who do participate.
OUTLINE: Topic SentencesStudents shouldn't be obligated to pay • It's true that districts that require students to finance their own participation in activities have extra money to spend on resources and faculty for academic programs. • Some students and their families, though, simply can’t afford the high cost of participation. • Turning away students who can't afford to play does little more than widen the gap between students who already have opportunities and those who already go without, which only increases the chance to continue the cycle of poverty.
OUTLINE: Body Paragraph #3 • Turning away students who can't afford to play does little more than widen the gap between students who already have opportunities and those who already go without, which only increases the chance to continue the cycle of poverty. • Opportunities afforded the "haves" • Opportunities missed by the “have-nots” • Benefits of activities on student’s future (college scholarships, time management skills, college applications, etc.)