Developing the Body of the Essay - Introduction to the Synthesis Essay - Develop Strategies for Success - AP English Language

AP English Language

Develop Strategies for Success


Introduction to the Synthesis Essay

Developing the Body of the Essay



— Plan the body of your synthesis essay.

Take a close look at the planning our writer did for this synthesis essay.

Position on issue: qualifying position on eminent domain

Sources to use: (Refer to the sources given in the Diagnostic Master exam)

image Source A (U.S. Constitution)

Source B (60 Minutes)

image Source C (Kelo decision)

Source D (Koterba, political cartoon)

image Source E (Broder)

Source F (Britt, political cartoon)

image Source G (CNN and American Survey)

Points to make:

1. The Kelo decision + the Fifth Amendment = right of eminent domain. Empathize with private property owners.

2. 60 Minutes interview to support negative idea of what happens when eminent domain takes private property.

3. Get into the idea of the greater good. Use 60 Minutes interview with the mayor and the Broder points about the need for urban development to help blighted areas.

4. Use the Washington Times survey to support my position of leaning toward those who oppose this type of use of eminent domain.

With these points in mind, our writer is now ready to compose the body of the synthesis essay.

Body Paragraph Based on Point 1 (Kelo + Fifth Amendment)

Because of this experience, I can empathize with the home owners affected by the recent 5:4 Supreme Court decision Kelo v. New London that cited a section of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” (Source A). The Court ruled that New London, Connecticut, was within its constitutional rights to take private property and give it to another private individual in order to further the economic development of the city (Source C).

• Uses a transition to refer to the opening paragraph

• States empathy with those affected by the Kelo decision and summarizes both the case and the Fifth Amendment

• Appropriately cites the sources as directed in the prompt

Body Paragraph Based on Point 2 (60 Minutes interview + negative attitude)

Contrary to what the Court sees as “permissible public use” (Source C), I believe that a government taking a person’s home or business away and allowing another private individual or company to take it over goes against the idea of our private property rights. A good example of this is the situation in Lakewood, Ohio, where the mayor wants to condemn a retired couple’s home in order to make way for a privately owned, high-end condominium and shopping mall. As Jim Saleet said in his interview with 60 Minutes, “The bottom line is this is morally wrong … This is our home … We’re not blighted…. This is a close-knit, beautiful neighborhood” (Source B). The Saleets, who have paid off their mortgage, should be allowed to remain there as long as they want and pass it on to their children. Here, individual rights should prevail.

• Uses the transition device of repeating a phrase from the previous paragraph

• Maintains the personal with I

• Backs up personal position with the 60 Minutes interview of the Saleets

• Appropriately cites the sources as directed in the prompt

Body Paragraph on Point 3 (Qualifying + Broder + 60 Minutes and mayor)

However, I must also take into consideration the need for cities and states to improve troubled urban areas and clear blighted sections with new construction, tax revenues, and jobs (Source E). If governments are blocked from arranging for needed improvements and income, decline of cities and other areas could result. For example, the mayor of Lakewood, Ohio, Madeleine Cain, claims that the city cannot make it without more tax money coming in. As she sees it, Lakewood needs more money to provide required services. “This is about Lakewood’s future. Lakewood cannot survive without a strengthened tax base,” Mayor Cain told 60 Minutes (Source B). Here, it sounds like the greater good should prevail.

• Introduces ambivalence with the transitional word “however”

• Uses both the Broder source and the mayor’s words from the 60 Minutes interview to illustrate and support the qualifying position

• Appropriately cites the sources as directed in the prompt

Body Paragraph Based on Point 3 (Qualifying + Broder)

Legal experts disagree about which of the two positions is the better one. Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice sees the principle of eminent domain as an important one for government planning and building, but not for private development (Source E). On the other hand, John Echeverria, the executive director of the Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Institute, sees a danger in legislators going to the extreme in the opposite direction and limiting essential powers of government. “The extremist position is a prescription for economic decline for many metropolitan areas around the country” (Source E).

• Transition created by referring to “the two positions”

• Uses the Broder source to give an overview of both sides of the issue

• Appropriately cites the sources as directed in the prompt and names authorities cited in the source material

Note: This is just one example of the many ways this synthesis essay could be planned and developed. The important thing to remember is YOU MUST PLAN BEFORE YOU WRITE.


Spend about 20 minutes writing the body of your essay. Make certain that your essay follows your plan and that you cite your sources.