In this activity you’ll examine six sources that explore the concept of democracy, and then write a synthesis essay. Your essay should be
two to four single-spaced pages.
Democracy is government by the people, usually through elected representatives. In today’s world, democracy is the most popular form of
government, yet, since its modern inception in eighteenth century America, many have questioned the value and success of democracy. What is
the value and purpose of democracy? Is it merely an ideal that can never be realized? Are governments that call themselves democratic truly
Before you read the sources, reflect on your own prior knowledge and opinions regarding the success of democracy. Then, read the following
sources carefully (including any introductory information), making sure to take notes on your interpretations, questions, and reactions to
the excerpts as you read. Some questions to consider while reading:
• What do these passages have in common?
• How many main ideas do these sources explore? And what are these ideas?
• What contradictions, if any, are apparent in these sources?
• How many sources will I use in my essay?
• How will I cite these sources in my essay?
• How will I synthesize these sources into a coherent argument?
In an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim
that democracy has succeeded in modern society.
To begin your essay, create a thesis statement that states your position on the effectiveness of democracy, and come up with two to four
reasons that you will use to uphold this position. Remember that your evidence can be your own opinion (supported with concrete detail) and
material from the six sources.
The body of your essay should include paragraphs that support your position. At least three sources must be cited in the essay, and you
should reinforce your opinions with concrete details. You may refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.), or by the
descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (Churchill)
Source B (Lowell)
Source C (Graph) x
Source D (Anonymous) x
Source E (Burgess)
Source F (Guinier) x
Again, remember to use the sources to support your position. Do not focus your essay on paraphrasing or summarizing the sources.
To create a polished essay, write a conclusion that ties the evidence you’ve used in the essay’s body back to your original thesis
Start your essay.