AP English Language

STEP 3
Develop Strategies for Success

CHAPTER 7

Introduction to the Synthesis Essay

Working the Prompt

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As with the analysis and argument essays, you MUST spend time carefully reading and deconstructing the prompt. This entails your carefully reading and looking for key words, phrases, and other information that make your task clear. DO NOT FORGET TO READ ANY INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL PROVIDED. The introduction will set up the situation and give you any needed background information. Plan to spend about three minutes carefully reading both the introduction and the assignment, and highlighting the important terms and elements of the prompt.

The following is the prompt from the Diagnostic Master exam.

A recent Supreme Court decision has provoked much debate about private property rights. In this decision, the court ruled that the city of New London was within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution when it condemned private property for use in a redevelopment plan. This ruling is an example of the classic debate between individual rights versus the greater good.

Carefully read the following sources, including any introductory information. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that supports, opposes, or qualifies the claim that the government taking property from one private owner to give to another for the creation of further economic development constitutes a permissible “public use” under the Fifth Amendment.

Make certain that you take a position and that the essay centers on your argument. Use the sources to support your reasoning; avoid simply summarizing the sources. You may refer to the sources by their letters (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the identifiers in the parentheses below.

• Source A (U.S. Constitution)

• Source B (60 Minutes)

• Source C (Kelo decision)

• Source D (Koterba, political cartoon)

• Source E (Broder)

• Source F (Britt, political cartoon)

• Source G (CNN and American Survey)

DO THIS NOW.

Time yourself for this activity.

Highlight the essential elements of the prompt.

How long did it take you?_________

Compare your highlighting with ours.

A recent Supreme Court decision has provoked much debate about private property rights. In it, the court ruled that the city of New London was within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution when it condemned private property for use in a redevelopment plan. This ruling is an example of the classic debate between individual rights versus the greater good.

Carefully read the following sources, including any introductory information. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that supports, opposes, or qualifies the claim that the government taking property from one private owner to give to another for the creation of further economic development constitutes a permissible “public use” under the Fifth Amendment.

Make certain that you take a position and that the essay centers on your argument. Use the sources to support your reasoning; avoid simply summarizing the sources. You may refer to the sources by their letters (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the identifiers in the parentheses below.

• Source A (U.S. Constitution)

• Source B (60 Minutes)

• Source C (Kelo decision)

• Source D (Koterba, political cartoon)

• Source E (Broder)

• Source F (Britt, political cartoon)

• Source G (CNN and American Survey)

Notice we have highlighted or underlined the essential parts of both the introduction and the prompt itself. All other words and phrases are nonessential.

We now know a debate is centering around private property rights and public use for the greater good. We know the U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling supporting the principle of eminent domain, and we know we must take a position on this debate. And, lastly, we know we must choose at least three of the seven given sources.