Classical Argument Assignment Sheet
For this assignment, you will compose a well-researched, argumentative essay with the classical argument structure. This structure is covered in the document titled “The Classical Argument.”
This essay will be on a contemporary topic of your choice; however, the following issues may not be selected: gun control, abortion, the death penalty, the drinking age, drunk driving, or religion. These topics are important, but may not be effectively separated from our personal moral values to create a logical argument. Also, they’re done to death. Instead, consider what might be a more interesting and original topic. Consider topics in your future career. Consider contemporary political and social movements. Find a topic that interests you as well as inspires a sense of urgency for understanding and change. Make sure that this topic is one that may be approached in multiple ways so that your reader can see there is already a debate taking place on this topic and may join in the discussion. What can you argue for if the issue is already resolved?
To begin this journey, you will need to set forth a claim that states your position on the issue you have chosen and argue that claim with at least three well-supported, original reasons. For this assignment, you must draw on at least three credible, authoritative sources: think through the issue for yourself and develop your own claim, your own reasons, and your own supporting evidence, but ensure these are also backed up with credible research.
1000 words (about 4 pages)
Utilize at least 3 credible, authoritative sources to show your reader the scope of your research as well as support your claims.
Your paper will be evaluated on how well it demonstrates your understanding of the rhetorical purpose, presents your argument clearly and logically, shows your thoughtful use of textual evidence, and exhibits your use of appropriate formal and stylistic conventions. I will be evaluating how well you:
Choose an appropriate, debatable, and interesting topic
Compose a strong thesis statement
Support your argument using appropriately presented logic, researched evidence, etc. in MLA style
Explain your reasoning and communicate the importance of your points
Maintain logical conclusions derived from your presented evidence
Interact with possible objections
Organize your writing to support and convince.
Craft clear, grammatically and mechanically clean prose that engages the reader.
Writing a Classical Argument
What is a Classical Argument?
Classical Argument refers to a structure for a written argument that harkens back to the courts of ancient Greece. There, participants in a trial stated their cases back to back with the first to go having no chance at rebuttal. This gave a huge advantage to the second arguer. The classical argument’s structure arose to combat this advantage. More than any of the other papers this semester, the Classical Argument requires a strict adherence to a particular structure. The six-part structure follows with the Greek names replaced with modern English.
Part I: The Introduction
The introduction of a Classical Argument is not so different from any introduction for any essay. The basic elements still are needed: grab your reader’s attention, establish a topic, establish a theme (thesis), and establish a structure. It is important for the thesis to be in the introduction of the Classical Argument and not held to the conclusion, even if the topic of the argument is inherently controversial. You can appeal to the reader with ethics, with emotion, or with logic to grab their attention.
Part II: The Background
Also sometimes called the narration, the background section of this essay establishes the context for the coming argument. This section can contain any information designed to help the reader understand the coming argument. Statistics, anecdotes, explanations, and historical information may all included here. None of the actual arguing goes on in this section. Think of it as laying the foundation for the coming essay.
Part III: The Confirmation
This section includes the claims, reasoning, and support for the thesis of the paper. This is where the writer makes his or her case. As with any argument, logical fallacies must be avoided. Reasoning and support should be of high quality and presented in a way that best convinces the reader of the argument’s validity. This includes using good sources for support, avoiding logical fallacies, maintaining high-level diction and academic tone, and staying focused on the argument at hand. You should also consider the order and organization of your work to be the most convincing. Always make sure to carefully explain your reasoning and show how it is important to your overall point in this section as well as the following sections.
Part IV: The Concession
This section and the following section form the meat of the Classical Argument. The Concession adds to the essay at least one strong counterpoint held by opponents to the writer’s take on the issue. At first, inclusion of the concession is counter-intuitive. Why, some wonder, would a writer include the opposing viewpoint in his or her paper when it is likely to weaken the message of the essay? Well, if the concession stood alone, it would likely weaken the essay. Luckily, it is followed by…
Part V: The Refutation
In this section, using the tools available, the writer undermines the point(s) conceded above, showing why the opponents of the measure are incorrect. The quality of the refutation is paramount. If the writer takes the opponent’s strongest point and shows it to be illogical or fallacious, he or she will go a long way to convincing the reader to join the writer’s side of the cause. Show your reader why the opposing side is wrong.
Part VI: Conclusion (or Denouement or Summation)
This is a standard conclusion. It should both restate the case from the paper as a whole and provide further context to show the reader why the issue is important. The conclusion should finish the paper with a flourish and leave the reader contemplating the issue. An especially effective way to end the paper might be to recall the attention-getter from the introduction.
After completing the essay and citing sources I need a separate page on the work cited including:
Make a Works Cited list of the five most relevant sources you’ve found on your topic. Please bold the citation, but
leave your annotations un-bolded. This will make the annotations easier to read. One source each must be print
(a book), a scholarly article (from an academic journal), and an online source (blog, Youtube, website). Then,
beneath each citation, write a paragraph: 1) summarizing the source’s main ideas, 2) evaluating the source’s author
and purpose while pointing out the most pertinent information that you will use in your essay. Remember to
organize your citations alphabetically.
Content of Paragraphs
o Summary should include: 1) the thesis/argument/ purpose of the source, 2) a summary of their content
and organization, 3) the best examples or evidence provided for the argument, 4) the author’s
o Evaluation should include: Your critique of the article. 1) Is the author a credible/authoritative source
and why? 2) How did s/he build credibility? 3) Was the logic of their argument convincing? 4) What
types of reactions did they invoke? How effective was it? 5) Did the author successfully address counter
arguments? 6) Be sure to point out holes in all of the above categories as you see them.
To gather and summarize information about a topic you are researching into one document
To create a quick reference sheet which will remind you of what your various sources argued and how they
are useful to your paper
To preserve a record of research about your topic which may be shared with others
Yourself—the document will help you in your own writing and research
Peers who might be interested in reading an overview of the topic you researched. Annotated
bibliographies are often shared with research communities in your field. For this reason, clarity,
professionalism and neatness are important in an annotated bibliography.
Have five annotations: one must be a book, one a journal article, one a web source
Be formatted in the style noted in the example
Each annotation must be 5-10 sentences.
I need 4 pages of the essay and then 2 pages of the work cited with a summary of each cite found
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