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- Practical Argumentation - 10/43 -

2nd. By _dedication_ as such by those having the power to dedicate it, and acceptance and adoption so far as they are required; or

3d. As a highway by long user, without the existence of proof of any original laying out, or dedication.

It is not pretended by any one that the land in question is a highway, upon the last of these grounds. I shall therefore confine myself to the consideration of the other two questions: namely. Was there ever a formal and regular laying out of a street here? or was there ever a regular and sufficient dedication and acceptance? [Footnote: The Works of Daniel Webster, Vol. VI, p. 186. Little, Brown & Co., Boston, 1857.]


In college debate, though not frequently elsewhere, the issues as a rule are immediately followed by a series of statements that show how each issue is to be answered. These statements constitute what is known as the _partition_. When a partition is made, each statement becomes a main point to be established by proof in the discussion. The following portion of a student's argument contains both the issues and the partition:--

In considering, then, whether colleges should adopt the system of exempting from final examinations all students who have attained an average daily grade of eighty-five per cent. or over, we have only to consider the effect such a rule would have upon the students, individually and collectively. Would the system raise or lower the standard of scholarship? Would it assist or retard the growth of other qualities which a college course should develop? The negative will oppose the adoption of this rule by establishing the three following points:--

1. Such a system will lower the scholarship both of those who are exempted from examinations and of those who are not.

2. Such a system will foster dishonesty, jealousy, and conceit.

3. Such a system will deprive those who are exempted from examinations of valuable discipline in preparing for examinations and in taking the examinations.

There are several forms in which the partition may be expressed: it may consist of a single sentence that indicates how the issues are to be answered; it may consist of the issues themselves turned into declarative sentences so that they read in favor of the side being upheld; or it may answer each issue by means of several statements. The following will illustrate the several methods:--

Proposition: _Resolved_, That football is an undesirable college game.


1. Does football benefit or injure the player?

2. Does football benefit or injure the college as a whole?

Partition (negative):

_First method._

1. We will establish our side of the argument by proving that in each case football is a benefit.

_Second method._

1. Football benefits the player.

2. Football benefits the college as a whole.

_Third method._

1. Football benefits the player physically.

2. Football benefits the player mentally.

3. Football benefits the player morally.

4. Football benefits the students who do not participate in the game.

5. Intercollegiate football games advertise the college.

The partition is usually found in college debate because in a contest of this sort absolute clearness is a prerequisite for success. As but little interest customarily centers around the subject itself, each debater knows that if he is to make any impression on the audience he must so arrange his argument that it will, with a minimum amount of effort on the part of the listener, be clear to every one. To one reading an argument, a partition, unless of the simplest kind, will probably seem superfluous; to one listening to a speech in which he is truly interested, the partition may seem labored. But when the whole interest centers in the method of presentation, and in the processes of reasoning rather than in the subject matter, the partition does increase the clearness of the argument, and should, therefore, be used.

By way of summary, then, it may be said that the work of conviction in the introduction is to show the relation between the proposition and the proof. The arguer accomplishes this task, first, by defining all words the meaning of which is not generally comprehended; secondly, by explaining, in the light of these definitions, the meaning of the proposition taken as a whole; thirdly, by discovering the issues through a careful process of analysis; and fourthly, by making a partition when he is engaged in debate and has reason to think that the audience will not see the connection between the issues and the discussion.


A student will hardly have reached this point in the study of Argumentation before finding it necessary to search for information that will assist him in the construction of his argument. To one unfamiliar with a library, a search after facts bearing upon a given subject is likely to prove tedious. For this reason a few words of advice concerning the proper way in which to use a library may be of great help to a beginner. Nothing, however, can be given here that will even approximate the value of a few hours' instruction by the librarian of the college in which the student is enrolled. In the absence of such instruction, one can seldom do better at the outset than to become familiar with indexes to periodical and contemporary literature, encyclopaedias, government reports, and the library catalogue.

The best indexes are the _Reader's Guide, Poole's Index, The Annual Library Index,_ and the _Current Events Index_. These give references to all articles published in the principal magazines and newspapers for many years. In these articles one will find almost limitless material on nearly every popular topic of the day-- political, economic, scientific, social, educational. The writers, too, are often of national and even of international reputation, and the opinions and ideas given here are frequently as weighty and progressive as can be found. In searching through an index for articles upon a certain subject, one should invariably look under several headings. For example, if one is seeking material in regard to the abolishment of baseball from the list of college sports, he ought not to consult just the one heading _baseball_; he should in addition look under _athletics_, _college sports_, and similar topics.

Other valuable sources of information are encyclopaedias. They often give broad surveys and comprehensive digests that cannot readily be found elsewhere. Although they do not, as a rule, discuss subjects that are of mere local or present-day interest, yet the thorough searcher after evidence will usually do well to consult at least several. A fact worth bearing in mind is that in connection with these articles in encyclopaedias, references are often given to books and articles that treat the subject very thoroughly.

In the next place, official publications frequently furnish invaluable help in regard to public problems. Both state governments and the national government constantly publish reports containing statistics, the opinions of experts, and suggestions for economic and political changes. Some of the most valuable of these documents for the purposes of the arguer are Census, Immigration, Education, and Interstate Commerce Commission reports, the messages of the Presidents, and the _Congressional Record_. There are indexes to all these, and one can easily find out how to use them.

Furthermore, one should not fail to consult the library catalogue. To be sure, if the books are catalogued only according to titles and authors, one will probably get little assistance from this source unless he knows beforehand what particular books or authors to search for. If, on the other hand, the books are also catalogued according to the subjects of which they treat, one can see almost at a glance what books the library has that bear upon the matter under investigation.


A. Define the following terms:--monopoly, free trade, railway pooling, income tax, honorary degree, tutorial system of instruction, industrial education, classical education, German university method of study, vivisection, temperance, Indian agency system, yellow peril, graft, sensational, mass play, monarch, civilization, autonomy.

B. Criticise the issues that are given for the following propositions:--

1. _Resolved,_ That in the United States naturalization laws should be more stringent.

a. Are the present laws satisfactory? b. Have the results of the laws been satisfactory? c. Would a change be wise?

2. _Resolved,_ That in the United States the reformatory system of imprisonment should be substituted for the punitive.

a. Is the reformatory system practicable? b. Does it reform the criminal? c. What has been its success thus far? d. Is it in accordance with modern civilization?

3. _Resolved_, That education in the United States should be

Practical Argumentation - 10/43

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