U.S. government II

Response Assignment and Discussion Forum Post

Political leaders, pundits, and commentators use words to convey political ideas. Some become immortal, or at least sound bites.

Some famous quotes:

“The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of

man.” William Gladstone, four-time Prime Minister of Great Britain

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin,

Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

“In a revolution as in a novel the most difficult part is inventing the end.” Alexis de Tocqueville

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” Benjamin


“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” President Abraham Lincoln

“I used to say that politics was the second oldest profession. I have come to know that it bears gross similarity to the first.”

President Ronald Reagan

“For too long we’ve been told about ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Each and every election we see a new slate of arguments and ads telling us that

‘they’ are the problem, not ‘us.’ But there can be no ‘them’ in America. There’s only us.” Bill Clinton

Special Essay Assignment


There are two parts to this Special Essay Assignment. You will submit your response using the Discussion Forum so that fellow classmates

may read your essay. Complete Part A by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Complete Part B by 11:59 pm Sunday.

Part A

Select a political quote that addresses an issue or idea about American government or politics. You may use one of the examples listed

to introduce this assignment if it appeals to you. You may want to think about a political leader you admire, or a political pundit who

seems to get it right in terms of your political perspective.
Your selection is important because you are going to use it as inspiration to persuade others of the truthful sentiment and impact of

the quote.
What makes this particular quote significant in American politics?
Write a one page essay (double spaced, 12 point font) and include a Works Cited page that includes appropriate MLA style citations

referencing the source of your quote and any other source documentation you choose to support your argument. You are to use no more than

three sources, including the source for the quote.
Consult How to Write a One Page Essay or Written Response found in the Course Documents menu of Blackboard to help draft your

response to this assignment.
Pay special attention to the notes on how to document sources, and how to use quotations and “unwrap” them for you reader.

NOTE: We have an embedded librarian in the course site. Should you need assistance or have questions, you may contact the librarian on

the Discussion Board.

Part B

Read the responses posted by other students in the class.
Reply to at least two by asking a question. (Choose classmates that haven’t already been asked questions by someone else, if any.)

Your questions should be one of these three types:
Clarification question – This kind of question helps the writer by asking him to clarify points that you think could be more fully

explained. An example of clarification questions is, “You said in your posting that all music is inherently free when it is played into

the open air. I don’t understand whether you mean physically free or legally free. Can you explain what you mean in another way?”
Hypothetical question – This kind of question helps the writer by asking her to test her argument by applying it to a situation

that you specify. An example of a hypothetical question is, “You proposed that music files be encoded in a non-copyable format. What would

happen if somebody bought a new computer and wanted to copy the songs that they bought legally from their old computer?”
Evidence question – When a writer states something as fact rather than personal opinion, his argument is stronger if he cites

evidence that the fact is true. Facts can be evidenced, in approximate order of strongest evidence to weakest, (1) by citing trustworthy

data, (2) by citing the opinions of experts, (3) by citing repeatable personal experience, or (4) by citing common opinion. This kind of

question helps the writer by asking for evidence if he states something as fact but doesn’t cite evidence. An example of an evidence

question is, “You stated that copying a DVD that you legally own is illegal. Can you tell me why you think that?”
Answer any questions asked of you, and read the answers others write.


Students will understand the power and significance of political quotes and how others respond.


I will grade your contribution to this discussion assignment and all other discussion forum assignments on the basis of how well you

fulfill the Special Essay Assignment in Part A, and assigned discussion tasks in Part B.

Response and participation in this discussion assignment is worth 50 points toward you course grade. Refer to the following table to

understand how your Special Essay Assignment will be graded:

Required Response
– Completed the essay assignment with a well-supported argument.

35 points

Related the Quotation to United States Government
– Used applicable political terms where appropriate
– Used political ideas correctly (with citation and Works Cited page) to clarify, explain, or support an argument

5 points

Contribution to Discussion
– Replied in thoughtful, meaningful, and helpful ways
– Advanced the discussion whenever possible
– Asked appropriate Clarification, Hypothetical, or Evidence question

10 points