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Lincoln Douglass Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dgsamt22
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Lincoln- Douglas debate is a well respected traditional form of debating utilized by high school debate teams through out the nation. It is aptly named for its distinct style based on its origin, which dates by to the presidential debate between Lincoln and Douglas. It is primarily known as a “value based debate” which is a debate centered on morals and logic. More specifically, it is premised on a philosophical foundation focusing on which side offers the most beneficial ethical solution to the resolution. The Lincoln-Douglas style of debate is comprised of two sides, known as the affirmative and the negative. The affirmative side will argue that there is a moral or logical obligation to uphold the resolution while the negative will argue that the resolution is incorrect and offer counter points. According to the National Forensic League a value of a debate is described, as “A value is an idea that a debater argues is paramount. The contentions in a Lincoln-Douglas case uphold the value. Generally, the debater will present philosophical background to support and explain their value.” The resolution in a Lincoln- Douglass debate creates a basis for two sides to have an opinion on an issue with emphasis on its philosophical purpose. An important part of the value is the counter value presented by the negative side, which argues that there is a greater and counteractive moral obligation to the previously presented value. The Lincoln-Douglas debate style not only lends itself to the well-crafted argument but also directs that the each side incorporate the higher purpose or moral justification as part of its side. Ultimately, the side that persuades the judge that their side of the resolution is overriding with justification and moral correctness prevails. In order to advance in the debate, there are various strategies including evidence, value premise and definitions. The value premise, as mentioned earlier provides the core of the debate. All arguments are based on the value premise- what the goal of the resolution should be. “Contentions,” which are points in the argument must all stem from your central value. Next, the evidence must stem from these contentions. Evidence makes the difference in a debate because it offers the logical assurance and factual support that a proposition does not. While a proposition is a statement without evidence, similar to a claim, a judge can more often trust evidence given with proper sources. So by providing evidence and sources, a debater would be one step ahead of an unprepared opponent. The last strategy in this style of debate is the use of definitions. When a debater defines their terms they have the ability to convince the judge that their definition is more reasonable than their opponent and therefore convince the judge that their opinion on the resolution more understandably follows the definitions provided. Each of these components must merge in the brief time that the debater has the floor in order to successfully persuade the judge. Policy debate and Lincoln Douglass are similar in terms of structure but different in their purpose. Both the Lincoln Douglas and policy debate are centered on a resolution but policy debate is usually a political resolution while LD is often moral. They are also similar in that there are negative and affirmative sides as well as cross-examinations by both sides. The main difference between the two styles of debate lies in the use of evidence versus the use of logic and morals. Policy debate relies heavily on evidence and organizational ability while LD debate is centered focused on the t moral persuasiveness of the argument. One particular resolution that I did not debate in our class was the position that preschool is necessary for all children before starting elementary school. Taking on the affirmative side, I would proffer that preschool is undoubtedly an important part of development and one that would advance the students educationally and socially. To support my side, I would research for facts and statistical evidence which would support the claim that the early preschool developmental years are vital to enhancement of educational opportunities and life skills in a child’s life . An added benefit is the social interaction that is introduced at an earlier point in the child’s life, which can provide a vital tool in detecting learning and social disabilities at a much early point in time. From a moral and social perspective, I would want to advance the argument that preschool for all children could be the great equalizer between the social and economic strata that have been found to create large divides in the children’s’ future education. My value would be that the preschool experience while educational is vital because of the social interactions it can teach children.

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