“Men’s arguments often prove nothing but their wishes” (Charles Caleb Colton).
“If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect” (Benjamin Franklin).
Directions: Choose ONE of the following claims (in either group) about which to write an audience-based
argument. (These are the same claims discussed in the audience-based argument forum.)
Group 1: Identify reasons based on conservative values for a conservative audience to accept one of the
following (typically liberal) positions:
1. Conservatives should support the expansion of bilingual education.
2. Conservatives should support increasing the federally mandated minimum wage.
3. Conservatives should support the elimination of capital punishment.
4. Conservatives should support affirmative action in higher education.
5. Conservatives should support an increase in government subsidies of renewable energy such as wind
turbines and solar panels.
6. Conservatives should support the passage of laws that will require the government or businesses to
provide flexible schedules, paid paternity leave, and free childcare.
Group 2: Identify reasons based on liberal values for a liberal audience to accept one of the following
(typically conservative) positions:
1. Liberals should support the building of more nuclear energy power plants in the U. S.
2. Liberals should support hunting.
3. Liberals should support allowing the use of taxpayers’ money to pay for tuition at private schools for
students at low-performing schools.
4. Liberals should support the elimination of affirmative action in higher education.
5. Liberals should support greater development and use of genetically modified foods.
6. Liberals should support global trade and the outsourcing of jobs to other countries.
In other words, you are trying to convince an audience that is typically hostile to the claim to change its
mind by offering this audience reasons based on this audience’s own values.
For instance, Charles Krauthammer, a conservative columnist, writes in favor of opening up the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling—something that conservatives tend to support because they think that
doing so will reduce the price of oil and generate jobs and that doing so will make the U.S. less dependent on
foreign oil. These reasons reflect how conservatives tend to value business and national security.
However, Krauthammer does not emphasize these reasons because they are not reasons that would appeal to an
audience hostile to drilling for oil in nature preserves. That audience places a higher priority on the environment
than on the economy and national security. Krauthammer’s specifically mentions two liberal Democratic
leaders—Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer—and refers to Democrats in general,
which suggests that his audience is readers who typically side with liberals. He then states as a reason that drilling
in ANWR is much less environmentally damaging than importing oil from countries with lax environmental
regulations and greater potential for oil spills. Democrats are likely to find this reason appealing because they tend
to value the environment and tend to think in terms of the global community and international cooperation. In
other words, Krauthammer uses a reason based on Democrats’ own values to try to get them to consider a claim
or position with which they disagree.
Engl 1302 Argument Paper 2020-21 P. Piercy
In essence, what you are doing is creating cognitive dissonance, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines
as “psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously held incongruous beliefs and attitudes (as a fondness
for smoking and a belief that it is harmful).” In the case of the Krauthammer article, he is causing his liberal
audience’s desire to protect the American environment to conflict with its liberal desires to protect the global
environment and to be a good global citizen, especially in countries where those who are exposed to the
environmental damage may be vulnerable groups such as the rural poor.
1. Length: The essay must be a minimum of 1500 words (excluding title page and Works Cited page).
2. Number and types of sources:
a. The essay must actually use (not just list) a minimum of FIVE sources.
b. At least three of your five sources must be library sources (i.e. library books or articles or books
from the library’s electronic databases). Good databases include Opposing Viewpoints,
CQResearcher, and Issues & Controversies, and Academic Search Complete (all accessible from the
“Current Issues” category under the “Research Databases” link on the library’s web site).
c. While you may search the Internet for sources, those sources must be appropriate for
academic research; for example, they may not be other students’ essays or from sites that offer
papers for sale or provide editing services. You are ultimately responsible for evaluating the
reliability of such sources.
3. Introduction and thesis: The introduction should clearly identify the controversy, your audience,
and the position that your audience ordinarily takes on the controversy, and the thesis should
identify your claim and audience-based reason(s).
4. Organization: The essay must contain an introductory paragraph, a concluding paragraph, and body
paragraphs organized according to topic (not simply by source/author) that are not too long. Paragraphs
should not run a page or more long! Therefore, your paper will likely contain more than five paragraphs.
5. Quoting and paraphrasing: The essay must actually use all of the sources you site, and it also must
include at least several examples of both quoted and paraphrased information from each source.
6. Documentation: Provide in-text (parenthetical) documentation for all paraphrased or quoted material
where you use that material, and include a Works Cited page at the end of the paper with a citation for
each source in MLA style.
7. Formatting: The paper should be formatted as your previous essays were: the essay must be typed
(double-spaced) with 10-12 point font and one-inch margins, and the first line of each paragraph should
be indented one-half inch (a tab).
8. Evaluation: The quality of the essay will be judged mainly on how effectively you identify and
support at least one audience-based reason, but see the grading sheet for the complete list of
characteristics on which the essay will be graded.
9. Deadline: A complete and correctly formatted essay must be submitted to the Audience-Based
Argument dropbox by the day listed in the schedule. Essays that are not submitted by that point
will be assessed a 5-point per day late penalty; papers will not be accepted over three days late.
Note: This is not a group or collaborative project. No student’s essay or Works Cited page should resemble any