Welcome to your paper assignment!!!

Your assignment is to compare and contrast the authors of ONE of the debates listed below.  

The essay should be at least 4 FULL PAGES (double-spaced, 1" margins including top and bottom, Times New Roman 12) and NO LONGER than 4 1/2 pages.  This is tough for some students who like to write, and write, and write...without really saying a whole lot.  The page length requires you to get to the point of your argument.  If, however, you are stretching your margins and line spacing to try and fit the minimum page number requirement, then I'll know you don't have much to say - and your paper grade will reflect that.  Your problem should NOT be how to get to 4 pages but rather how to keep it to no longer than 4 1/2. 

Length and Format

Your essay should be:

Don't fill the heading of your first page with a lot of unnecessary junk.  The only four things you need to put (single spaced) are your name, your section number, the date, and the title of the paper.  (Anything more than that will be deleted when I grade your paper.)

Compare and Contrast Checklist:

How to Write This Paper

Over the years I have noticed two problems that students have in writing this paper.  First, a student writes a paper that has an intro, summarizes each author, and then has a conclusion.  These papers do not pass because they do not fulfill the assignment of comparing and contrasting the arguments.  Problem number two is when a student summarizes each author separately, draws out some similarities and differences in a separate paragraph or two, and then concludes.  These papers have the potential to pass, but not with a grade higher than a C because of the repetition in their analysis; that is, after summarizing each author separately, the student repeats the arguments again when comparing and contrasting.  

So here is your required format:  DO NOT summarize the authors separately from a compare and contrast analysis.  Instead, organize your paper thematically in a point-counterpoint format.  Determine what are the main points the authors are arguing over and explain how they differ.  For instance, if the authors are arguing over compulsory voting, even if they are not specifically addressing one another, they are talking about the same issues:  voter turnout, the concept of democracy, the value (or downside) of compulsory voting.  A paper would be divided into these issues in which you explain how each author differs.  In this way, you are drawing out specific points from their debate to show their contrasting positions.

For the INTRODUCTION, don't forget that the specific assignment is to compare and contrast these authors.  This requires you to bring the names and articles of these authors into your introduction.

THIS IS NOT A POSITION PAPER.  While I am interested in your position at the end of the paper, your task is to fairly assess the arguments of each of the authors. Offer your position at the end of the paper as you tell me which aut    hor you find more persuasive and why.  (You are also free to reject both authors if you provide a good enough reason.)

Using Quotes and Plagiarism

I DO want you to use lots of examples from these readings, but I DO NOT want you to use any quotes!!!  All examples should be substantially paraphrased in your own words; and since I have read these articles, I am going to know if you are just lifting sentences out of them - so don't test me on this.  You will receive an "F" on your paper for plagiarism, and possibly an "F" in the class for gross infractions of this rule.

PROOFREAD and "spell check" your work as spelling and grammatical errors will affect the overall presentation of your essay - and thus your overall grade.  A paper that is filled with grammatical, punctuation, and/or spelling errors will NOT pass.


Optional Due Date:  Saturday, March 17

Choose one topic:

The Constitution

Should "Under God" Stay in the Pledge? 

Affirmative Action 


Mandatory Due Date (if you did not turn in a paper on 10/14):  Saturday, April 28

Choose one topic:

Campaigns and the Media

Should the Electoral College Be Scrapped?

The Bureaucracy

You may only write a paper on these specific articles, and only on the articles specific to the due dates (i.e., you cannot write on Affirmative Action if you decide to turn in a paper on the Mandatory Due Date.)

Submitting Your Paper:  There is no drop box for this paper.  You must E-mail your paper either to my Canvas account or directly to   If you e-mail me your paper as an attachment, it must be in MS-Word.  Also, you must PASTE your paper directly into the body of the e-mail message (which prevents potential complications if and when attachments don't open.)

Late policy:  Papers are marked down 1/3 of a grade each day that they are late.  Late papers are defined as those which are e-mailed to me after 11:59 pm of the day they are due.

Points:  220 points.