The Making of Arguments eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about The Making of Arguments.

Referendum.  On petition of twenty-five per cent of the voters any ordinance must be submitted to popular vote at a special election; no ordinance goes into effect until ten days after being passed by the council.

Initiative.  On petition of twenty-five per cent of the voters a proposed measure must either be passed by the council or else submitted to popular vote.



1.  Write definitions of the system for choice of studies by undergraduates which is in force at your college; of the terms for admission to college; of the requirements for the degree.

2.  Write a compact description or definition of the form of city government in your own city or town, like that of the Des Moines plan of commission government on page 70.

3.  Write a definition of the requirements for entrance in English, according to those set forth by the Conference on Uniform Entrance Requirements in English.

4.  Write a definition of the present system of college societies in your own college, using the history of their development, for your fellow students; for an article in a popular magazine.

5.  Write a definition of “summer baseball” for an audience of undergraduates; for the trustees of your college.

6.  Write a definition of “professional coach.”

7.  Write a definition of “squatter sovereignty,” as used by Lincoln.

8.  Write a definition of “the mutation theory.”

9.  Write a definition of “the English system of government.”

10.  Write a definition of “the romantic spirit in literature.”

21.  Finding the Issues.  Your preparation for your argument should now have given you a clear idea of the interests and prepossessions of your readers, it should have left you with a definite proposition to support or oppose, and it should have made you sure of the meaning of all the terms you are to use, whether in the proposition or in your argument.  The next step in working out the introduction to your brief is to note down the chief points that can be urged on the two sides of the question, as direct preparation for the final step, which will be to find the main issues.  These main issues are the points on which the decision of the whole question will turn.  They will vary in number with the case, and to some extent with the space which you have for your argument.  In a question of fact, which turns on circumstantial evidence, there may be a number of them.  In the White Murder Case, in which as we have already seen, Webster was the chief counsel for the prosecution, he summed up the main issues in the following passage.  The essential facts needed to understand the case are that the defendant was Franklin Knapp, that his sister-in-law, Mrs. Joseph Knapp, was the niece of Captain White, that by removing and destroying the will of Captain White the defendant and his brother Joseph supposed that they had made sure that she would inherit from him a large sum of money, that Richard Crowninshield, the actual perpetrator of the murder, had killed himself in prison.  To convince the jury of the guilt of the prisoner, Webster had to carry them with him on the following seven main issues: 

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The Making of Arguments from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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