Staple your re-write on top of your new organizer. Ten points will be deducted if re-writes are turned in without new organizers



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Argumentative Writing Assignment: Declaring Independence

Were the American colonists justified in declaring independence from the British?
After reading the documents, write an essay that addresses the above question and support your position with evidence from the documents. Be sure to acknowledge competing views. Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position.


  • Remember copying ideas is plagiarism, use proper citation when using another person’s ideas.




  • The rubric that will be used to assess your response is included at the end of this packet.




  • The graphic organizer provided may help you organize your thoughts before you begin writing.

Document 1: Proportion of loyalists and rebels
Historians' best estimates put the proportion of adult white male loyalists somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. Approximately half the colonists of European ancestry tried to avoid involvement in the struggle — some of them deliberate pacifists, others recent emigrants, and many more simple apolitical folk. The patriots received active support from perhaps 40 to 45 percent of the white populace, and at most no more than a bare majority.
Robert M. Calhoon, in 'A companion to the American Revolution', (2000); p 235. retrieved from http://www.upa.pdx.edu/IMS/currentprojects/TAHv3/Content/PDFs/Loyalists_Thirteen_Colonies.pdf, 18 June 2013.


Document 2: Paraphrase of speech by Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses, May 1765 in response to the Stamp Act
We can under law be taxed only by our own representatives. We have no representatives in the British Parliament, so how can the British Parliament place this tax on us? It is simple; they cannot! The Stamp Act is against the law. We must not obey it… King George is a tyrant. He breaks the laws. He is an enemy of his own people.
http://www.constitution.org/bcp/vir_res1765.htm

Document 3: Excerpt from a letter written by Mather Byles, Cotton Mather's grandson, to Nathaniel Emmons
They call me a brainless Tory; but tell me, my young friend, which is better, to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away, or by three thousand tyrants not a mile away. I tell you, my boy, there was just as much humbug in politics seventy years ago as there is today.


Mather Byles, Cotton Mather's grandson, to Nathaniel Emmons, Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton, The Famous Mather Byles: The Noted Boston Tory Preacher, Poet and Wit, 1707-1788.






Document 4: Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson July 4, 1776
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; that, to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any From of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. . .

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us. . .

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world; . . .

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent; . . .

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:. . .

For suspending our own Legislatures. . .

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Document 5: Peter Oliver’s thoughts on declaring independence


For a long time, the colonies were protected by and prospered under the English government. The colonies became so successful that they decided to rebel against their mother country, the parent who had protected them from enemy harm. Why was this sudden change made? To make a few instigators happy! This was not what the majority wanted but they did not understand that their fellow countrymen were deceiving them.
The Origin and Progress of the American Revolution to the year 1776, a history by Peter Oliver of Massachusetts, 1781




Document 6: British Arguments for Taxing the American Colonies

The French and Indian War cost the British government a lot of money. In order to fight this war, the British needed soldiers, weapons, ammunition, and other supplies. To get all of these items, including soldiers, you need a lot of money. Governments get money from their citizens through the process of taxation. Without taxes, a government would not be able to function, especially during wartime. In order to fight the French & Indian War, Britain taxed its citizens in Britain (not the colonies) and ended up with an enormous war debt.

Many members of the British Parliament felt that the easiest way to pay off the debts from the French and Indian War was to make those who caused the war to pay it off, namely, the American colonists. The war had been fought, as they saw it, because of American greed. The Americans had provoked the French into war and Britain had to intervene to protect its colonies. Once the war ended, it was the Americans who were going to benefit the most because of the new lands that were acquired west of the Appalachian Mountains. The taxes that Parliament was levying (placing) on the colonists were only 1/20 of those paid by British citizens in England. Finally, King George III had stationed troops in the American colonies to stop them from moving into the new lands and possibly causing more conflict with Native American tribes living there. Parliament was just asking for the colonists to pay for their own protection. 

n.a. British Arguments for Taxing the American Colonies. Plainedge School District, No. Massapequa, NY, n.d. Web. 18 June 2013.



Teaching Task Rubric (Argumentation)

Scoring

Elements

Novice




Apprentice




Practitioner

Meets Expectations




Expert

1




2




3




4

Focus

Attempts to address prompt, but lacks focus or is off-task.




Addresses prompt appropriately and establishes a position, but focus is uneven.




Addresses prompt appropriately and maintains a clear, steady focus. Provides a generally convincing position.




Addresses all aspects of prompt appropriately with a consistently strong focus and convincing position.

Controlling Idea

Attempts to establish a claim, but lacks a clear purpose. (L2) Makes no mention of counter claims.




Establishes a claim. (L2) Makes note of counter claims.




Establishes a credible claim. (L2) Develops claim and counter claims fairly.




Establishes and maintains a substantive and credible claim or proposal. (L2) Develops claims and counter claims fairly and thoroughly.

Reading/ Research

Attempts to reference reading materials to develop response, but lacks connections or relevance to the purpose of the prompt.




Presents information from reading materials relevant to the purpose of the prompt with minor lapses in accuracy or completeness.




Accurately presents details from reading materials relevant to the purpose of the prompt development, argument or claim.




Accurately and effectively presents important details from reading materials to develop argument or claim.

Development

Attempts to provide details in response to the prompt, but lacks sufficient development or relevance to the purpose of the prompt. (L3) Makes no connections or a connection that is irrelevant to argument or claim.




Presents appropriate details to support and develop the focus, controlling idea, or claim, with minor lapses in the reasoning, examples, or explanations. (L3) Makes a connection with a weak or unclear relationship to argument or claim.




Presents appropriate and sufficient details to support and develop the focus, controlling idea, claim. Makes a relevant connection to clarify argument or claim.




Presents thorough and detailed information to effectively support and develop the focus, controlling idea, or claim. (L3) Makes a clarifying connection(s) that illuminates argument and adds depth to reasoning.

Organization

Attempts to organize ideas, but lacks control of structure.




Uses an appropriate organizational structure for development of reasoning and logic, with minor lapses in structure and/or coherence.




Maintains an appropriate organizational structure to address specific requirements of the prompt. Structure reveals the reasoning and logic of the argument.




Maintains an organizational structure that intentionally and effectively enhances the presentation of information as required by the specific prompt. Structure enhances development of the reasoning and logic of the argument.

Conventions

Attempts to demonstrate standard English conventions, but lacks cohesion and control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Sources are used without citation.




Demonstrates an uneven command of standard English conventions and cohesion. Uses language and tone with some inaccurate, inappropriate, or uneven features. Inconsistently cites sources.




Demonstrates a command of standard English conventions and cohesion, with few errors. Response includes language and tone appropriate to the audience, purpose, and specific requirements of the prompt. Cites sources using appropriate format with only minor errors.




Demonstrates and maintains a welldeveloped command of standard English conventions and cohesion, with few errors. Response includes language and tone consistently appropriate to the audience, purpose, and specific requirements of the prompt. Consistently cites sources using appropriate format.

Content Understanding

Attempts to include disciplinary content in argument, but understanding of content is weak; content is irrelevant, inappropriate, or inaccurate.




Briefly notes disciplinary content relevant to the prompt; shows basic or uneven understanding of content; minor errors in explanation.




Accurately presents disciplinary content relevant to the prompt with sufficient explanations that demonstrate understanding.




Integrates relevant and accurate disciplinary content with thorough explanations that demonstrate in-depth understanding.




Template Task Collection 1 | © Literacy Design Collaborative, November 2011


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