Any subject. Has to be cause and effect. I will attach directions.

Right now, a debate is raging over how to talk about our history. Who gets to tell our national story? How should we think about our past? 

It’s a huge topic, one that isn’t possible to address in a short paper like this. So let’s scale it down, and look just at one specific issue: What do we do with statues of Confederate generals, or other people whose biographies include now-unacceptable attitudes or actions?

This is an argument paper. This means that you need to do two things:

  • explain, to your readers, what the debate is that you’re joining in
  • explain your position, and explain why. 

The question:

Describe the debate over pulling down statues of Confederate generals and other problematic historical figures, and explain your own position, taking care to clarify which ideas you do and don’t agree with.  

Essay content: Focusing solely on the articles assigned, your paper should 

  • present a clear summary of the debate landscape, based on what you’ve read – the questions people are addressing, and their different answers;
  • explain where you stand; 
  • explain why, with reference to specific evidence and points drawn from our readings;
  • show an understanding of counter-arguments and conflicting viewpoints. 

NOTE: You do not have to “pick a side.” Your take on this may not be the same as anyone else’s; or you might not yet know what you think. It’s perfectly OK for you to argue that this this is a complex case where it’s difficult to say for certain who is right – if that is your thesis, you need to explain why you’re conflicted. 

Sources:

  • capeheart.pdf – “New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Confederate statues: ‘The monuments were murder.'” Jonathan Capeheart. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/05/23/new-orleans-mayor-mitch-landrieu-on-confederate-statues-the-monuments-were-murder/(Links to an external site.) 
  • signer.pdf  – “I’m a progressive mayor. Here’s why I voted ‘No’ on removing my city’s Confederate statue.” Michael Signer. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/24/im-a-progressive-mayor-heres-why-i-voted-no-on-removing-my-citys-confederate-statue/ (Links to an external site.)
  • finney.pdf  – “I’m black. Robert E. Lee is my relative. His statues can’t come down soon enough.” Karen Finney. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/15/im-black-robert-e-lee-is-my-ancestor-his-statues-cant-come-down-soon-enough/ (Links to an external site.)
  • kiznar.pdf – “I detest our Confederate monuments. But they should remain.” Lawrence A. Kuznar. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-detest-our-confederate-monuments-but-they-should-remain/2017/08/18/13d25fe8-843c-11e7-902a-2a9f2d808496_story.html (Links to an external site.)
  • nelson.pdf – “Don’t take down Confederate monuments. Here’s why.” Sophia A. Nelson. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/news/opinion-why-i-feel-confederate-monuments-should-stay-ncna767221

Applying what you’ve worked on:

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