ONEShare TWO ideas from They Say/I Say chapter three, that you learned, appreciated, or have questions about.TWOShare TWO powerful verbs that you think may be especially useful to you and explain why.THREERead, “Liberty, Licentiousness, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” by James R. Rogers.” For Roll Call, identify the primary point the writer wants his audience to understand and using signal phrases and in-text citations, quote and explain TWO passages that support the primary point (or main claim); and share your views on this writer’s position. Write 75-125 words.FOURLearn about writing the one-paragraph summaries called the rhetorical precis. Then, write a rhetorical precis for “5G Devices Are About to Change Your Life,” by David Pogue. The rhetorical precis is a specific kind of summary that allows us to analyze texts and save key information about them in a condensed way. It’s one tool in your academic toolkit. Please follow the format and don’t wing it. :)Rhetorical Précis Introduction
A rhetorical précis (pronounced “pray-see,” whether singular or plural) is a summary of the essential points of an academic
source. It includes four sentences which allow us to academic texts closely, analyze them carefully, and produce a succinct
summary of them.
Preparing to Write a Rhetorical Précis
To write a rhetorical précis, the first step is to understand a source text very well. This requires annotating each source
text, highlighting, underlining, circling and making notes like “main claim,” “subclaim 1,” “evidence,”
“counterargument,” “rebuttal,” “key term” in the margins, and noting questions.
The Rhetorical Précis Format
1. In a single coherent sentence, write the following:
a. the name of the author, author’s profession, and title of their work,
b. a rhetorically accurate verb (e.g., assert, argue, deny, refute, prove, disprove, explain),
c. a “that” clause containing the main claim of the work.
2. In a single coherent sentence, explain how the author develops and supports the major claim with key subclaims
that are specifically named, between commas, including a citation.
3. In a single coherent sentence, state of the author’s purpose, followed by an “in order to” phrase.
4. In a single coherent sentence give a description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author
establishes with the audience and/or perceived biases of the author.
Rhetorical Précis Sample
The following sample illustrates the précis format. (It also provides a useful theory about the ways we form beliefs.
You can see that in this class, we favor the “method of science,” as does Pierce. Note that you do NOT need to use
numbers in your précis.)
In “The Fixation of Belief,” scientist and philosopher Charles S. Pierce asserts that we possess
psychological and social mechanisms designed to protect and cement (or “fix”) our beliefs. Pierce
supports this claim with descriptions of four methods of fixing beliefs and their limitations, namely:
the method of tenacity, or holding closely to what one already believes, which may be shaken in the
presence of others’ beliefs; the method of authority, or holding to beliefs those in authority hold,
which may limit what one may believe; the a priori method, or holding to what “sounds good”; which
is a matter of personal taste or intuition; and the method of science, or relying on the following
assumptions: there is a real world out there existing independently of what we think about it, the real
world has certain real characteristics and operates according to real and regular laws, and that if we
understood these ways we could discern the truth of the real world out there (2, 5, 7, 9). Pierce’s
purpose in writing this essay is to point out the ways that people commonly establish their belief
systems in order to jolt the awareness of the reader into considering how their own belief system
may be the product of such methods and to consider what Pierce calls “the method of science” as a
progressive alternative to the other three. Given the technical language used in the article, Pierce
is writing to a well-educated audience with some knowledge of philosophy and history and a
willingness to consider other ways of thinking.
Video About Rhetorical Précis:
The Rhetorical Precis – Alice Myatt (4:40)
Rhetorical Precis Sample – Cate Miller (4:39)
Rhetorical Precis model adapted from Oregon State “Sample Rhetorical Precis” http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl201/modules/rhetoricalprecis/sample/peirce_sample_precis_click.html and https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf
APRIL 17, 2017
Declaration of Independence, Inalienable Rights, Pursuit of Happiness
Liberty, Licentiousness, and the Pursuit of
by JAMES R. ROGERS
The Declaration of Independence famously affirms inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. As I discussed last week, the heavy lifting of the adjective “unalienable” means that people
cannot give or otherwise transfer these rights away. Inalienability is a restriction on rights’ holders. This
immediately changes implications of the terms. To wit, today Americans often think of liberty as
“autonomy.” Indeed, in the Supreme Court notably defines the Fourteenth Amendment liberty
guarantee as a protection of individual autonomy. According to the Declaration, however, inalienable
rights to life and the pursuit of happiness exist in tandem with liberty. In the philosophy of the
Declaration, “liberty” cannot mean, say, a right to alienate one’s life by committing suicide, assisted or
otherwise. So the inalienability of the rights to life and to the pursuit of happiness necessarily structure
the meaning of liberty in the Declaration.
But what about “the pursuit of happiness”? Today this phrase is usually understood to mean something
like the right to chase after what gives one emotional happiness. That construction, however, makes the
phrase effectively redundant with “liberty,” in the sense that both recognize a right to do what one
wants to do. More knowledgeable readers, thinking of Locke or the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments,
suggest that “happiness” is merely the Declaration’s synonym for property. And, to be sure, the right to
acquire the material conditions for life is an implication of this commitment. But there’s more.
Before considering “happiness” proper, we need to look at the “pursuit” part of the phrase.
Commentators often remark that the Declaration does not guarantee the right to obtain happiness, only
the right to pursue what makes one happy.
That’s probably an incorrect reading of the word’s import. First, the internal evidence in the Declaration
is inconsistent with such a construction. Only a couple of clauses down the Declaration affirms that
when a government no longer secures the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the people
have the right to “institute new government” on such principles and in such form “as to them shall seem
most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” The Declaration here refers to government forms and
principles that establish or result in safety and happiness, not the conditions that allow people to seek
This later use of “happiness” complicates the notion that the earlier reference to the “pursuit of
happiness” means only the right to chase after happiness. But what else could “pursuit” mean?
In a 1964 article in the William & Mary Quarterly, titled “The Lost Meaning of ‘The Pursuit of Happiness,’”
historian Arthur M. Schlesinger argues that “pursuit” should be understood when used in referring to,
say, “the pursuit of law” or “the pursuit of medicine.” That is, pursuit refers to practice or vocation. This
reading has the virtue of being more consistent with the Declaration’s later invocation of “safety and
As Schlesinger points out, understanding “pursuit” in this way gives a different cast to the phrase. If
correct, the Declaration affirms “the practicing rather than the quest of happiness as a basic right
equally with life and liberty.”
Understanding “pursuit” in this fashion raises its own questions. Few today refer to the practice or
vocation of happiness, at least without meaning one devoted entirely to one’s own pleasure.
The political use of happiness around the founding meant something different, something more akin to
eudemonia, meaning felicity or well being broadly understood. Critically, it commonly included an
ethical or religious dimension. For example, in a letter to James Monroe in 1786, James Madison
There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs
elucidation, than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right
and wrong. Taking the word “interest” as synonymous with “ultimate happiness,” in which sense it is
qualified with every necessary moral ingredient, the proposition is no doubt true. But taking it in its
popular sense, as referring to the immediate augmentation of property and wealth, nothing can be
Uses in public documents of the era include notable examples, such as the Massachusetts Constitution
of 1780, which affirms that “the happiness of a people . . . depends upon piety, religion and morality. And,
similarly, the Northwest Ordinance provides that “religion, morality, and knowledge” are “essential to
the happiness of mankind.” Similar quotations references could be multiplied.
Now to put the phrase together again and stick it back into the Declaration. First, asking what it means
that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right. Secondly, what does its inclusion as a right
coordinate with life and liberty mean for the Declaration’s affirmation?
Per the Declaration, as with life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is a right endowed by a creator and
therefore is a right that cannot be alienated. As above, if the pursuit of happiness simply means the
seeking after whatever one thinks would make one happy, then its inalienability makes little sense. But if
the phrase refers to the practice or vocation of virtue’s felicity, then the inalienability of the right has
bite. Just as humans do not have the right to commit suicide if life is an inalienable right, so, too, humans
do not have the right not to engage in the pursuit of happiness, we do not have the right to forego our
divinely-appointed eudemonic vocations. Indeed, as the Declaration affirms, governments are
established to secure this right, coordinate with the rights to life and liberty. And governments can be
replaced by the people if they become destructive of those rights.
So, too, the inalienability of life and happiness’s pursuit necessarily structures what liberty means in the
Declaration. It simply cannot mean autonomy. Indeed, if the reading above is at all in the ballgame, then
the Declaration’s articulation of inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness harkens to
the old distinction between liberty and license. Because these rights are inalienable, there can be no
right to licentious behavior, and there cannot be any such right regardless of whether that behavior
implicates other people or not. Needless to say, such an affirmation flies in the face of most educated
sentiment in the U.S. today.
Indeed, much modern American opinion and, more pointedly, modern judicial opinion, makes it a point
to reject precisely that conception of liberty. And while broad swaths of Americans, even if only a
sizeable minority these days, may still believe something akin to what the Declaration affirms, we don’t
recognize that the Declaration does affirm it. The moral vocabulary of the American founding is a lost
language for Americans today. To be sure, there are many who would respond “and good riddance” to
that moral vocabulary. Still, while the words may be the same, it’s worth noting that Americans today
sing distinctly American propositions in a different key. And it’s fair to ask whether the music is so
different today that we’re really singing an entirely different song.
James R. Rogers
James Rogers is associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University, and a fellow with
the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and
Public Service. He served as editor of the Journal of Theoretical Politics from 2006 through 2013.
About the Author ∠
Powerful Verbs for Weaving Ideas in Essays
Note of Caution: Only use the verbs you’re familiar with unless you take the time to examine the
definition in the dictionary. This is NOT a list of synonyms. Each word has specific usage patterns
that are unique to its meaning. Also, be careful not to overdo or overstate. Words like, “ignite,” are
very strong. It’s not often that someone ignites someone or something, even metaphorically.
that refers to the
what ideas can
create or assist
that refers to an
expert’s opinion or
causes, effects, etc.
that involves laws
or legal proposals
Foster, Mary Beth. “Powerful Verbs for Weaving Ideas in Essays.” SALT. U of Arizona. Jan. 2008. Web. 8
Jan. 2016. ‹salt.arizona.edu/›.
Purchase answer to see full
Why Choose Us
- 100% non-plagiarized Papers
- 24/7 /365 Service Available
- Affordable Prices
- Any Paper, Urgency, and Subject
- Will complete your papers in 6 hours
- On-time Delivery
- Money-back and Privacy guarantees
- Unlimited Amendments upon request
- Satisfaction guarantee
How it Works
- Click on the “Place Order” tab at the top menu or “Order Now” icon at the bottom and a new page will appear with an order form to be filled.
- Fill in your paper’s requirements in the "PAPER DETAILS" section.
- Fill in your paper’s academic level, deadline, and the required number of pages from the drop-down menus.
- Click “CREATE ACCOUNT & SIGN IN” to enter your registration details and get an account with us for record-keeping and then, click on “PROCEED TO CHECKOUT” at the bottom of the page.
- From there, the payment sections will show, follow the guided payment process and your order will be available for our writing team to work on it.