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In a 5-7 paragraph essay of rich content and mature prose, develop a thesis-driven essay in which you address a topic related to the life and work of one of the writers we’ve covered. Please refer to the list of topics. Essay will conform to MLA style and consist of a clear introduction with significant thesis, a multi-paragraph body with clear supporting details and information, and a conclusion in which the argument of the essay is reiterated.
1. 12 pt. Times New Roman (handwritten essays are not accepted)
3. MLA documentation procedure
4. 5-7 paragraphs (approx. 750-1000 words)
1. Introduction (a paragraph that sets forth an argumentative claim, insight, or interpretation, and forecasts the textual examples to be focused on in successive body paragraphs.)
2. Body (multiple paragraphs connected by transitional phrases that cite specific textual examples and analyze those passages in light of your interpretation.)
3. Conclusion (a paragraph in which the argument and the main points of the essay are reiterated.)
1. Has Jefferson’s revolutionary vision been achieved in America today? Does every citizen have the same shot at the American dream of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? How so? Why not?
2. Does studying war make a leader more or less effective?
3. Are most people bad, as Mach. suggests? Is it true that the good will come to ruin among the many who are not good? What are the implications of this in terms of leadership strategies?
4. As a leader, is it better to be generous or miserly?
5. As a leader, is it better to be loved, feared, or hated?
6. Is it true that politicians tend to cultivate a public image very different from how they genuinely are? Or, do appearance and reality typically coincide in our elected officials?
7. Do you tend to trust or distrust politicians and/or people in positions of power and authority?
8. How Machiavellian is Trump?
9. What does it mean to govern in such a way that people do not know they are being governed? Is this a desirable form of leadership? Why? What would Machiavelli say?
10.What are the main differences between Machiavelli and Lao-Tzu? Which philosophy of leadership do you find more compelling/effective? Why?
11.Should government be large, controlling, and intimately involved in many facets of our lives, or should it be small, limited, and uninvolved in our daily affairs?
12.What does it mean to throw away morality and justice and expect that people will do the right thing? Does this make any sense? What does Lao-Tzu mean?
13.If moderation means freedom from one’s own ideas, how moderate are we as a culture? Is this an attainable goal? Why should we free ourselves from our own ideas? What is the value in entertaining new ideas?
14.What is Lao-tzu’s stance on weapons? Is this valid? Should we seek to implement his advice?
15.Is it true that “subsidies make people less self-reliant?” Apply this sentiment to modern American society. Is this a tenable thesis?
16. Should we “throw away holiness and wisdom?” How? Why?
17. Do you find Lao-Tzu “lofty, yet impractical? Why?
18. What valuable lessons can we learn from Frederick Douglass?
19. Describe the importance and function of education in Douglass’s life.
20. Is it true that “that government is best which governs least?” What does this philosophy mean, and what are its implications? Does Thoreau’s philosophy more closely resemble that of Machiavelli or Lao-tzu? How so? Be specific.
21. Should we disobey unjust laws? How do we decide laws are unjust? Can you think of an unjust law currently on the books? What action can be taken to change it?
22. Thoreau is considered a political idealist/radical because of his provocative stances on issues. What are the strengths and weaknesses of his position? How do your own beliefs stand in relation to those of Thoreau? Is there any political issue about which you feel so strongly you would risk incarceration?23. Thoreau compares voting to gaming or gambling and claims it expresses a desire but does not amount to real political action. Do you agree or disagree? Is it important to vote and be politically engaged, or do you feel like the political machinery of the nation will easily carry on with or without your voice? Do/ Should you vote at all?
24. Thoreau refuses to pay a poll tax used to fund a war with which he disagreed. Today, our tax dollars are being used to finance an increasingly unpopular war. How might tax-paying citizens express their disapproval?
25. Is civil disobedience an important concept? Why? Is it important to critically examine governmental policy, or should we simply assume the government acts at all times in our best interest? Can you think of times in our history when elected officials have not acted in our best interest in such a way as to promote the general welfare?
26.What does King mean when he says “meet physical force with soul force?” What made King’s strategy of non-violence so effective?
27. Analyze the Birmingham Letter. What aspect of King’s rhetoric do you find the most moving or persuasive? Why? Cite logical, ethical, and emotional appeals.
28. Analyze the Gettysburg Address. What makes this brief speech so compelling? What specific rhetorical features help the document achieve such a powerful effect on the listener?