Essay 1: American Foundations/The Political is Personal
Primary Source: Dan Rather, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
Explore all of the following secondary sources related to Dan Rather. We have looked at some together throughout this unit, and you should have notes. If you are in my online section, feel free to refer back to former discussion boards. You must use at least TWO secondary sources in this essay, and no more than FOUR secondary sources, quoting from each of them in your essay. You cannot use any secondary source other than one here, unless I have posted it elsewhere in the course, we have looked at it together as a class and/or you seek and receive my approval prior to the due date.
· Professional History: https://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/dan-rather-fast-facts/index.html
· Rather’s website, especially his own writing (link “Dan Rather” on the homepage).
· https://www.newsandguts.com (Rather’s website)
· ttps://www.c-span.org/video/?437041-4/washington-journal-dan-discusses-book-what-unites-us (video interview)
· https://www.npr.org/2017/11/03/561643959/dan-rather-an-unlikely-essayist-on-what-unites-us (podcast)
· https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/dan-rather/what-unites-us/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=DSA (book review)
Remember to indent paragraphs and to give your essay a creative and relevant title. You must address the writing prompt, constructing your own thesis statement in response to the prompt. You may use personal experience and/or your own thoughts and ideas to develop your thesis. You must make appropriate and frequent use of Rather’s text for support. You may use notes that you have taken at home or in class on secondary sources (above). Lastly, you must use templates from They Say, I Say. I have distributed handouts from this source as well as put much material on Blackboard.
Length Requirements: NONE
You need to write an introduction and thesis paragraph, body paragraphs that support and develop your main idea and thesis with examples, quotations, etc., and a conclusion that reiterates the main ideas of your essay. You cannot accomplish this in fewer than three typed, double-spaced pages. But as I said in class, my guess is that if you are writing more than 5 pages, you have lost your thesis and gone off topic.
However, ultimately, you need to write as much as you, individually, need in order to prove your thesis thoroughly. Everyone has a different writing style. You are working on becoming more self-aware as a writer, learning how you prove your points; develop an argument, link paragraphs and ideas, etc. Each student’s way of doing this will be different.
What freedoms and values make a country great? Write an essay that takes a position about the current state of America and how patriotism, civil rights and personal freedom relate to both the ideals and the reality of the United States.
Incorporate into your response Rather’s definitions and discussions of patriotism, dissent, voting, and the role of the press and media from his book. Incorporate any other interesting or relevant positions he takes in his interviews or from book reviews of What Unites Us. Think about immigration, education and any other issues that are important to you and that you think work to make a country great or to jeopardize its citizens’ freedoms. Avoid clichés. Develop specific examples and explanations of your ideals, and analyze whether they are or are not currently working in the United States, and why you think this is.
Your grade will be based on the following:
1. The author makes connections between textual support and her or his overall main idea/ theme and thesis. The essay moves beyond WHAT and analyzes the WHY. Author expresses unique insight, depth of thought, resulting in a convincing and enlightening paper.
2. Overall fluent and focused essay. Paragraphs are framed with connections to claim/thesis and are organized by idea. Paragraphs and sentences have transitions and claims are backed up with quotations (which are summarized, paraphrased and/or explained) and examples. Remember: They Say, I Say is your best friend in this case. Use the templates we have practiced in class and feel free to use any others that you find in online PDFs of the book or if you have purchased the book. Frequent template usage is mandatory.
3. Essay uses active voice, present tense, with strong verbs and a variety of sentence structures. It has been clearly proofread and sentence-level and/or grammatical errors are sparse.
4. Essay uses at least two secondary sources in addition to the primary texts. The writing properly attributes and cites the ideas of others to avoid plagiarism and supports a well-reasoned essay.
Don’t worry about writing a Works Cited page/bibliography for Essay 1, Version 1. However, remember to name your source when you quote from it within the essa
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