The year is 1787, and as you look outside your window, there is a light dusting of snow as the Fall turns to Winter. You look at your mail and find a letter from your State Legislature.
Dear Esteemed Citizen,
You have been recommended to come speak in front of the Legislature regarding the recent debate whether to pass this new Constitution of these United States. Several members have been asked to say a few words, so you must be brief and poignant with your argument.
Yea or nay? Be absolutely direct with your reasoning and anticipate the Congress’ critiques of your argument.
Please submit a written statement ahead of time – about 2-4 pages shall suffice. We await your words with bated breath!
The State Legislature
The above scenario is simply to introduce the topic of this first assignment.
You must choose whether you are a Federalist (for the Constitution) or an Anti-Federalist (against the ratification of the Constitution).
You must write a 2-4 page paper (preferably closer to 4) on whether to ratify the Constitution or not. This is NOT a broad look at many arguments. You will give ONE THESIS STATEMENT that concludes whether ratification is beneficial or not FOR ONE SPECIFIC REASON.
Correct: The U.S. Constitution must be ratified because a unitary executive is necessary for the defense of the states.
The first example is direct and supports my argument. It will be coherent and discuss the need to recognize foreign nations and deal with national crises. It will directly reference the Constitution, Class notes, the Federalist Papers, and our textbook. I will incorporate thought from important documents like the Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta.
Incorrect: The U.S. Constitution has many good ideas about government and should be ratified. One idea that is good is the separation of powers. Another good idea is check and balances. Also, it is important that the Federal Government is the Supreme Law of the land.
The second example is too broad without any support. It references themes, but it does not argue why they are important. The paper will vaguely include lecture notes but not reference the Constitution, Federalist Papers, or the textbook. I will make several unrelated arguments briefly without providing any depth. This will result in an inadequate grade.
I encourage thought that defends or attacks the Constitution or the Articles of Confederation. I advise that also defend your argument from obvious attacks as well.
Our Federal Government must be the supreme law of the land according to Art. VI because the national government must have control or else the States will claim total sovereignty. Art. VI will not lead to tyranny as each Branch has been given the proper authority to check itself and can be controlled through the people without State interference.
While the topic should be enjoyable to engage, this is a full and critical assignment to your grade for the semester. Please review the rubric I have laid out. This paper should not be thrown together. I will check originality and creatively, as well as strict coherence (tying the argument together from paragraph to paragraph) and grammar/punctuation (there should be no spelling or grammatical issues – READ SENTENCES OUT LOUD).
Papers are expected to use Times New Roman – 12 point font and be double spaced with 1-inch margins.
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