First, you need to think of something that you feel strongly about. The power of manifestos derives from the
passion behind them, the sense of “moral outrage,” if you will. Think of current social issues, something that
you care about, or something you want to change in our society/culture. However, please avoid the ones that
are overwritten (abortion, gay rights, gun laws, pot legalization).
Passion must be your starting point. However, passion alone is not enough. That passion must be expressed
through, and tamed by, solid reasoning and sufficient evidence. In your thesis, you will argue that something
needs to change in our society and in the rest of the essay you will do the following:
Appeal to audience. Who is your audience? Who are you talking to? Address the opening of the essay to those
people. (Most likely, you are talking to your fellow Americans) Be sure the essay speaks to that audience,
whoever they are. What common ground can you emphasize with your audience?
Identify the problem. What is the problem?
Define justice/appropriateness and injustice/inappropriateness with regard to your chosen topic or situation.
How do you determine if a law, rule, or action is “just”? “Unjust?” Why is this thing you are talking about unjust?
(Provide solid reasoning)
Prove a danger exists. What is the problem? How or why is this situation you have selected dangerous? To
whom? (Note, you are more convincing if you can somehow ultimately show that the issue you identify is
dangerous to the entire society or to every individual) Provide proof.
Plan of Action. What needs to be done?
Identify the role of government/society. What do you see as the proper role and responsibilities of government
or authority in this issue?
Identify role of the individual. What are the proper role and responsibilities of the individual in this issue?
Use of “authority.” What authority do you turn to or depend on to support your assessment of the wrongness of
this situation and/or to justify your plan of action? Authority is your research. Find at least 5 credible sources to
back you up!
You have a lot of freedom with this essay. Not only can you choose your topic freely, but you can decide how
many paragraphs to include and how to structure your argument. In theory, there is no minimum page count,
but to be honest, I have not seen this done well in under 6-7 pages at least, just because of how big of a topic it
is. Take what you have learned in this course, and all the previous English courses you have taken, and put all
your writing skills at work here.
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