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- Practical Argumentation - 6/43 -

1. The building of the Panama Canal is a topic of interest and importance to every American. Not only do we wish to see our country build the canal successfully, but we also desire to see built the best canal that the world has ever known. There is no doubt that the canal is necessary; the great loss of time and money, the annual sacrifice of ships and lives involved in the passage around the "Horn," not to mention the expense and congestion of the railroad freight systems across the continent, plainly show the need of quicker ship communication between the two oceans.

2. I stand here to raise the last voice that ever can be heard this side the judgment seat of God in behalf of the personal honor and judicial integrity of this respondent. I fully realize the responsibilities of my position, and I shall endeavor to meet them as best I can. I also realize as deeply as any other man can how important it is not only to my client but to every American man, woman, and child that justice shall be done and true deliverance made.

3. The opening of the racing season in New York, at the Aqueduct track on Long Island, gives a fresh opportunity for observation of the conditions under which horse-racing, and more especially gambling on horse races, is carried on. The announcement of the racing managers that certain "reforms" had been inaugurated in the control of the gambling makes the opportunity of especial interest.

4. I approach the discussion of this bill and the kindred bills and amendments pending in the two Houses with unaffected diffidence. No problem is submitted to us of equal importance and difficulty. Our action will affect the value of all the property of all the people of the United States, and the wages of labor of every kind, and our trade and commerce with all the world. In the consideration of such a question we should not be controlled by previous opinions or bound by local interests, but with the light of experience and full knowledge of all the complicated facts involved, give to the subject the best judgment which imperfect human nature allows.

5. Each generation has the power to shape its own destinies; and had Washington and his fellow patriots been governed by warnings against a departure from traditions, our present form of government would never have been established, the Constitution would have been rejected by the States, and untold evils would have resulted. Madison, when arguing for the adoption of the Constitution, met arguments very like to those now being made in favor of political isolation.

6. As a race they have withered from the land. Their arrows are broken and their springs are dried up; their cabins are in the dust. Their council fire has long since gone out on the shore, and their war cry is fast dying out to the untrodden West. Slowly and sadly they climb the mountains and read their doom in the setting sun. They are shrinking before the mighty tide which is pressing them away; they must soon hear the roar of the last wave, which will settle over them forever. Ages hence the inquisitive white man, as he stands by some growing city, will ponder on the structure of their disturbed remains and wonder to what manner of person they belonged. They will live only in the songs and chronicles of their exterminators. Let these be faithful to their rude virtues as men, and pay due tribute to their unhappy fate as a people.

7. (During the Civil War England largely favored the South. To counteract this feeling Henry Ward Beecher spoke in many of the principal cities in behalf of Northern interests. In Liverpool he met an audience that was extremely hostile. The following is the introduction to his speech.) For more than twenty-five years I have been made perfectly familiar with popular assemblies in all parts of my country except the extreme South. There has not been for the whole of that time a single day of my life when it would have been safe for me to go south of Mason and Dixon's line in my own country, and all for one reason: my solemn, earnest, persistent testimony against that which I consider to be the most atrocious thing under the sun--the system of American slavery in a great free republic. (Cheers.) I have passed through that early period when right of free speech was denied me. Again and again I have attempted to address audiences that, for no other crime than that of free speech, visited me with all manner of contumelious epithets; and now since I have been in England, although I have met with greater kindness and courtesy on the part of most than I deserved, yet, on the other hand, I perceive that the Southern influence prevails to some extent in England. (Applause and uproar.) It is my old acquaintance; I understand it perfectly-(laughter)-and I have always held it to be an unfailing truth that where a man had a cause that would bear examination he was perfectly willing to have it spoken about. (Applause.) And when in Manchester I saw those huge placards, "Who is Henry Ward Beecher?" (laughter, cries of "Quite right," and applause), and when in Liverpool I was told that there were those blood-red placards, purporting to say what Henry Ward Beecher has said, and calling upon Englishmen to suppress free speech, I tell you what I thought. I thought simply this, "I am glad of it." (Laughter.) Why? Because if they had felt perfectly secure, that you are the minions of the South and the slaves of slavery, they would have been perfectly still. (Applause and uproar.) And, therefore, when I saw so much nervous apprehension that, if I were permitted to speak --(hisses and applause)--when I found they were afraid to have me speak--(hisses, laughter, and "No, no!")--when I found that they considered my speaking damaging to their cause--(applause)--when I found that they appealed from facts and reasonings to mob law-- (applause and uproar)--I said, no man need tell me what the heart and secret counsel of these men are. They tremble and are afraid. (Applause, laughter, hisses, "No, no!" and a voice, "New York mob.") Now, personally, it is of very little consequence to me whether I speak here to-night or not. (Laughter and cheers.) But one thing is very certain, if you do permit me to speak here tonight, you will hear very plain talking. (Applause and hisses.) You will not find a man-- (interruption)--you will not find me to be a man that dared to speak about Great Britain three thousand miles off, and then is afraid to speak to Great Britain when he stands on her shores. (Immense applause and hisses.) And if I do not mistake the tone and temper of Englishmen, they had rather have a man who opposes them in a manly way--(applause from all parts of the hall)--than a sneak that agrees with them in an unmanly way. (Applause and "Bravo!") Now, if I can carry you with me by sound convictions, I shall be immensely glad (applause); but if I cannot carry you with me by facts and sound arguments, I do not wish you to go with me at all; and all that I ask is simply FAIR PLAY. (Applause, and a voice, "You shall have it, too.")

Those of you who are kind enough to wish to favor my speaking,--and you will observe that my voice is slightly husky from having spoken almost every night in succession for some time past,--those who wish to hear me will do me the kindness simply to sit still; and I and my friends the Secessionists will make all the noise. (Laughter.)

B. On the affirmative side of the following propositions, write conciliatory introductions, of about two hundred words each, suited to the audiences indicated:--


1. All colleges should abolish hazing. 2. Fraternities tend to destroy college spirit. 3. A classical education is not worth while. 4. All colleges should abolish secret class societies. 5. Intercollegiate athletic contests are harmful to a college.


6. Strikes are barren of profitable results. 7. Unions are detrimental to the laboring man. 8. The concentration of great wealth in the hands of a few men benefits industrial conditions.



As soon as the persuasive portion of an introduction has rendered the audience friendly, attentive, and open to conviction, the process of reasoning should begin. First of all, it is the duty of the arguer to see that the meaning of the proposition is perfectly clear both to himself and to all the people whom he wishes to reach. If the arguer does not thoroughly comprehend his subject, he is likely to produce only a jumble of facts and reasoning, or at best he may establish a totally different proposition from the one that confronts him; if the audience fails to understand just what is being proved, they remain uninfluenced. The amount of explanation required to show what the proposition means varies according to the intelligence of the people addressed and their familiarity with the subject.


To begin with, if there are any unfamiliar words in the proposition, any terms or expressions that are liable to be misunderstood or not comprehended instantly, they must be defined. At this point the arguer has to exercise considerable judgment both in determining what words to define and in choosing a definition that is accurate and clear. Synonyms are almost always untrustworthy or as incomprehensible as the original word, and other dictionary definitions are usually framed either in too technical language to be easily grasped or in too general language to apply inevitably to the case at hand.

DEFINITION BY AUTHORITY. As a rule, the very best definitions that can be used are _quotations_ from the works of men distinguished for their knowledge in the special subject to which the word to be defined belongs. The eminent economist defines economic terms; the statesman, political terms; the jurist, legal terms; the scientist, scientific terms; the theologian, the meaning of religious phraseology. To present these definitions accurately, and to be sure of the author's meaning, one should take the quotations directly from the author's work itself. If, however, this source is not at hand, or if time for research is lacking, one may often find in legal and economic dictionaries and in encyclopaedias the very quotations that he wishes to use in defining a term. It is always well, in quoting a definition, to tell who the authority is, and in what book, in what volume, and on what page the passage occurs.

Another convenient way of using definition by authority is not to quote the entire definition but to _summarize_ it. Frequently an authoritative definition is so exhaustive that it covers several pages or even chapters of a book. In such a case the arguer may well condense the definition into his own words, not omitting, however, to name the sources used. The following example is an excellent illustration of this method:--

The bearing of the Monroe Doctrine on all these contentions and counter contentions is not at once evident to the casual observer.... Of course with changing times its meaning has changed also, for no one attempts to declare it to be as immutable as the law of the Medes and

Practical Argumentation - 6/43

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