“The Op-Ed piece is a “real world” exercise that requires not only an understanding of both sides of an issue, but an ability to understand the audience.” Imagine you are writing a “op-ed” response to a curated blog post from a blog catering to a college-educated audience (that’s you all). The conclusion in the blog stated: “The United States has fulfilled its post-Civil War ideals of liberty and justice for all.” Because you just took United States History from 1877 and want to move beyond the virtual shouting match of “I’m right, you’re wrong, so there!!" so prevalent across social media, and want to support your argument with concrete details and sources, you write an op-ed response on your own website. For this assignment, please do the following: Consider the argument above. Decide whether you agree or disagree and consider why. Using information from across our class timeline please write an evidence-based persuasive response that clearly defines your position. Then, guide the reader through your reasoning. Use evidence from across our class and clearly state how the evidence supports your conclusion, ideally in each paragraph. Please visit the Smith College Op-Ed Guidelines for some ideas. You will be graded mainly on your argument, use of specific concrete details, and whether your argument makes sense based on the evidence you provide. Often having two examples to support your stance is the easiest way to tackle this type of assignment in a concise way. As to formatting and length, I leave that largely up to you. Focus on writing a paper that you feel fully addresses what you want to say. The finished assignment should probably be more than a half-page. It's rare that such a short space would provide enough details for an evidence-based opinion based on a full semester’s worth of class material. If you are reaching more than three or four pages, it is time to trim it down and ask if you are being concise enough. Consider whether your argument is strong and convincingly supports your stance. I want to encourage flexible thinking about the material and recognize the fact that everyone structures their arguments in slightly different ways. I feel rigid length and formatting rules, while helpful in some cases, can also limit where a student can go and, in history as in life, there are often no “right” or “wrong” answers.