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Argument and Persuasion

In the essays below, the writers attempt to present evidence in such a convincing fashion that readers recognize the validity of the argument. You can learn to use this pattern here, here, here, and here.

All writers in this collection speak for themselves—and themselves alone.

A visual representation of this collection exists on Pinterest.


The Case for Reparations

Journalist TaNehisi Coates traces the history of systematic economic racism, from slavery through segregation up to contemporary housing policies, to support his argument in favor of reparations for African-Americans.

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Deep Intellect

Naturalist Sy Montgomery gets in the mind of an octopus and is amazed not only at what she finds but also at the existing research on these intelligent creatures.

Argument and Persuasion Humans and Their Animals First Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

End the Charade: Let Athletes Major in Sports

David Pargman, professor emeritus at Florida State University, gives his reasons why athletes should study sports, their real focus in college.

Argument and Persuasion Sport First Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Enslaved Abroad, Oppressed at Home

Author Lipika Pelham argues that low-income workers in Bangladesh deserve better conditions.

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The Fast-Food Factories: McJobs Are Bad for Kids

Amitai Etzioni, writing for the Washington Post, examines the hidden dangers of high school students having jobs.

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Fifth Avenue, Uptown

Writer James Baldwin argues for human rights, using history to compare blacks/whites, southerners/northerners, and the haves/have-nots.

Argument and Persuasion Modern Challenges First Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Is College Worth It?

Students often wonder whether they are getting their money's worth by going to college. The Economist examines the cost and return-on-investment of a college degree.

Argument and Persuasion School Life Third Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?

Steve Almond, writing for the New York Times, believes that fans must admit that they are complicit in the brain-damaged players that football produces.

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No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog

Farhad Manjoo, a technology columnist, argues that people deserve some dog-free zones.

Argument and Persuasion Humans and Their Animals First Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Of Greatness

Abraham Cowley, a seventeenth-century poet, explores the vanity of human wishes and makes some proposals about how we should live.

Argument and Persuasion Identity First Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Old Dog Needs $6,000 Surgery. What Do You Do?

Writer Roz Warren recounts the family's decision to have expensive gall bladder surgery on a beloved 13-year-old dog.

Argument and Persuasion Humans and Their Animals Mixed Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

On the Pleasure of Hating

In this nineteeth century essay, writer William Hazlitt argues that hatred of others is at bottom hatred of self.

Argument and Persuasion Love and Relationships First Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Same Love Video

In the video for the song "Same Love," hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis argue for marriage equality.

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Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue Its Owner?

What can an animal do if its owner neglects and/or abuses it? Charles Siebert, a contributing writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, addresses that question as animal rights continue to evolve.

Argument and Persuasion Humans and Their Animals Third Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

The Solace of Oblivion

In a world where anyone can search Google for information on anyone else, do people have the right to be forgotten? Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst, considers this question in light of a 2014 decision from the European Court of Justice.

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To Philosophize Is to Learn to Die

Essayist Michel de Montaigne argues that contemplating death has several benefits.

Argument and Persuasion Identity Mixed Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Why Are Police Using Military-Grade Weapons in High Schools?

Reporting for Rolling Stone, Molly Knefel explores a Los Angeles high school's response to increasing police presence.

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Yes, It Does Matter If Jonathan Bennett Is Gay and Out of the Closet or Not, and Here's Why

Noah Michelson, Executive Editor of the Huffington Post's Gay Voices, argues that homosexuals, especially homosexual celebrities, have a responsibility to come out publicly.

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