Classical Argument Essay
The classical argument form originated in Greek and Roman times and consists of six parts. The following lists the parts in Latin terms:
- Exordium: the writer tries to win the attention and goodwill of an audience by introducing the topic.
- Narratio: the writer adds background information so the audience understands the context of the claim.
- Partitio: the writer makes a claim (thesis) that addresses the key issues.
- Confirmatio: the writer provides reasons and/or evidence to support the claim.
- Rufutatio: the writer addresses alternative or counter-arguments and explains why they don't make sense.
- Peroratio: this section summarizes the argument and may make a call for action.
The "Declaration of Independence" is a strong model of a classical argument. It is briefly summarized below:
- Exordium: the founding fathers introduce the idea that people must sometimes make political changes if they have just causes.
- Narratio: the writers provide background for their cause: "We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . "
- Partitio: the writer makes a claim (thesis) that the King is guilty of abuses toward the colonies.
- Confirmatio: the writer supports the claim by listing numerous abuses of the King.
- Rufutatio: the writer explains that they have already tried to talk to the King and other British about these issues and that they have been ignored.
- Peroratio: the founders declare the colonies' political separation from Britain.