social issues / argument essay

social issues / argument essay.

This semester in English 126 we have looked at a variety of arguments surrounding many of the most contentious cultural debates and social issues that face modern society. For your final essay in English 126, you will choose one of these large issues or topics that we have discussed in class and write a 4-5 page essay in which you lay out the terms of the debate – or a related question at issue — and then write a persuasive issue in which you argue for one side of the issue that you have chosen. Be sure to give adequate background information or context for your issue, and to develop the most logical and persuasive argument possible. In this essay, it is particularly important that you also include a section in your paper in which you address – and refute — the opposition’s most compelling argument against your position. In addition, you should reference at least one of the essays on our syllabus that addresses the issue that you are writing about.

The following is a list of broad topics and essays that might serve as the subject of your essay:
The broken educational system in America: Charles Murray, Should the Obama Generation Drop Out? ; John Taylor Gatto, Against School ; Michael Moore, Idiot Nation
Patriotism and nationalism: Dinesh D’Souza, America the Beautiful ; Mark Hertsgaard, America: The Oblivious Empire ; Sam Smith, How to be a Patriot
Adolescents and sexuality / Birth control / Sex education in public schools: Rush Limbaugh, Condoms: The New Diploma ; Anna Quindlen, A Pyrrhic Victory
The impact of popular culture on morality: Ellen Goodman, Countering the Culture of Sex ; David Kupelian, Killer Culture
Enhanced interrogation and the use of judicial torture: Michael Levin, The Case for Torture ; Charles Krauthammer, The Truth About Torture ; The Association for the Prevention of Torture, Defusing the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario

Reforming the prison system and privatized prisons: Paul Krugman, Prisons, Privatization, Patronage ; Leonard Gilroy and Jon Coupal, The Case for Privatizing California’s Prisons Jill Filipovic, America’s Private Prison System is a National Disgrace
National / domestic security and the issue of racial profiling: Clifford Fishman, Racial Profiling is Sometimes Necessary ; Jean Abi Nader, Racial Profiling is Unacceptable ; John Derbyshire, Racial Profiling ; John Derbyshire, The Talk
The immigration debate: the impact of immigration (documented and undocumented) on American society and cuture: Linda Chavez, The Realities of Immigration ; Victor D. Hanson, Do We Want Mexifornia? ; Samuel Huntington, One Nation, Out of Many: Why Americanization of Newcomers Is Still Important
Gun Control in America (including related issues, like Stand Your Ground laws): Nan Desuka, Why Handguns Must be Outlawed Alan Keyes, Our Second Amendment Rights ; Andrew Napolitano, Individuals are Sovereign ; Kurt Eichenwald, Let’s Repeal the Second Amendment
Family values / changing family roles / same-sex marriage: Jonathan Turley, Polygamy Laws Expose Our Own Hypocrisy ; Wendy Kaminer, Why is Polygamy Illegal? ; David Frum and Andrew Sullivan, Gay Marriage ; Jeff Jacoby, Lawful Incest May be on Its Way ; Harry V. Jaffa, Homosexuality and Natural Law
The role of faith in public life: Bill McKibben, The Christian Paradox: How a Faithful Nation Gets Jesus Wrong ; Sam Harris, The Myth of Moderation in Religion ; Karl Giberson, Say it Ain’t So ; Bobby Henderson, Open Letter to the Kansas School Board: The Flying Spaghetti Monster
National security and universal id’s: David Plotz, Privacy is Overrated ; Margaret Carlson, The Case for a National ID Card ; the American Civil Liberties Union, National ID Cards: Five Reasons Why They Should be Rejected

The Great American Dream / Materialism and popular cultural notions of success: Death of a Salesman

The abortion debate: Anna Quindlen, Some Thoughts About Abortion ; Ellen Willis, Putting Women Back into the Abortion Debate ; Sallie Tisdale, We Do Abortions Here

The responsibilities of citizenship: : Bowen McCoy, The Parable of the Saddhu ; Christopher Awalt, Brother, Don’t Spare a Dime ‘; Garrett Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics

social issues / argument essay

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