Comparing and contrasting builds on your critical thinking skills because it forces you to consider the similarities and differences between ideas as well as necessitates the articulation of those contrasts. To strengthen your skills at understanding the notion of the American Dream, you will compare
and contrast two different texts in an effort to understand what constitutes the specific elements of the American Dream. So, think about key concepts and ideals (freedom, opportunity, the “self-made man”, pursuit of happiness, self-determination for one’s future, civil rights, civic-mindedness, etc) and compare how your two authors address the same issues. For example, you might contrast Douglass to King and through through how both discuss the prospect of
opportunities for Blacks in America.It would be helpful to quote from Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech or Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence or Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, as you compare and contrast the arguments made regarding the rights of women, the indigenous, or Blacks. You need
to compare and contrast the complaints, violations, and remedies articulated between the “complaint texts” to note their similarities and differences. In other words, where do women and blacks share in the same complaints? Or how do the struggles of Blacks and the indigenous differ? Or what has changed for Blacks, when contrasting two authors from the same demographic, but measuring progress across time (example: DuBois, King)?
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