Essay Due: Tuesday, 11/20 at the beginning of class Prompt

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Debra Bronstein

English 1A

Justice/Civil Disobedience and Reform Application Essay
Please write a 5-page essay on the following prompt. The paper should be typed in Times New Roman, 12-point font, double spaced, with one inch margins.
Essay Due: Tuesday, 11/20 at the beginning of class
Choose one author/text for Part I:
* Cicero’s “The Defense of Injustice”

* Rawls’ “A Theory of Justice”

* Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” (obviously to be paired with King!)

* Hart, “Are there Any Natural Rights”

* Berlin, “Two Concepts of Liberty”

* Dworkin, “What Rights Do We Have?”

Choose one author/text for Part II

* Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”

* King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

* Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments”

* Loving V Virginia

* Statement of Proposition 8

* Selections from Marriage Cases, Supreme Court of California
Please write an application essay in which you analyze how and why your Part II author applies the main ideas of your Part I author to his/her argument in order to make his/her case for civil disobedience or reform.
For example:

        • If you were to choose Thoreau and King, you would show how King employs, reacts to, borrows from, connects with the theories of civil disobedience that Thoreau puts forth (note: this is the easiest of the essay options to write on, b/c King’s ideas build directly from Thoreau’s arguments).

  • If you were to choose Cicero and King, you would look at how King employs an understanding of what constitutes injustice as a starting point for King’s claims about nonviolent direct action. The same goes for Cicero and Thoreau.

  • If you use Rawls, you will need to show how King would have used the ideas of justice as fairness in order to make his claims about why African-Americans no longer can wait for change to occur and why they must act now to achieve equality. You would need to show that the social system of segregation was not set up according to the rules of justice as fairness, and therefore, African Americans were never given a fair chance. (Be aware that anachronism applies here and is allowable, only in this one instance)

  • The same thing would go for Thoreau and Rawls: For instance, Thoreau would argue that the system of voting and the concept of the majority violate the rules set out in Rawls’ concept of justice as fairness.

  • If you were to use Cicero and Stanton, you would look at the way in which Stanton uses Ciceronian ideas of injustice in order to make her claim for women’s rights. If you use Stanton, you also MUST bring in Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” as Stanton’s text directly parallels Jefferson’s (hint: you will need to look at the reasons why Stanton is using Jefferson as a model: all “men” are created equal vs. all men and women are created equal. You’ll have to do a parallel analysis here).

Thesis paragraph must include both authors. This paragraph will be very similar to the Comparison/Contrast Essay. Start with the author for Part I and articulate the where, who, what, and why. Then transition to author for Part II. In that transition, you must make it clear HOW and WHY author 2 is using the ideas from author I’s text in order to make his/her point. Develop the what, how and why of author 2 by relating it to author I through the application mode. You cannot just talk about the two authors on their own.
Body Structure: Start with Part I author.

Do 3 paragraphs on Part I author explaining the main points. Follow the paragraph structure from Take Home Essay 1 for Part I. This is the same thing. Make sure your Part I moves from point to point (and connects the dots) rather than stays focused on one main argument with two or three supporting paragraphs. Make sure you have a full understanding of the text for Part I:

Paragraphs should include:
* Topic sentence with an ARGUMENT

* 3 sentences developing the main point and providing context for the example

* Explanation of the example

* Introduction of the quote using signal phrases

* Provision of the quote including correct citations (parenthetical page references)

* 3 sentences analyzing the quote

* Next paragraph should have a topic sentence that bridges the main idea of the

previous paragraph with the new main argument of the current paragraph.

Part II:

Transition will be a couple sentences introducing the author of choice for Part II and explaining how the main argument of Part II author relies on the ideas of Part I. Then throughout Part II, which should be 3 paragraphs and should follow the same paragraph structure as part I, you will show how the main argument of each of the paragraphs relies on, uses, extends, compares with the main arguments you already talked about in Part I. It’s up to you to find parallel arguments.

Conclusion: You will examine WHY you believe Part II author is extending/using/applying the ideas of Part I author. What is his/her purpose and does he/she achieve that purpose?
Caveats: It is ok to be anachronistic here. I give you permission this one time. Obviously Thoreau or King cannot rely on Rawls, Hart, or Berlin or Dworkin’s ideas, b/c Thoreau and King are dead at the point that these contemporary writers are writing. However, this is not a history lesson, but it’s a lesson in critical thinking and applying one set of ideas to another, so it’s ok, just this once to be anachronistic.

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