Research Papers




















































Rhetoric, simply put, is the art of persuasion; it is the study of how to speak and write in a manner that effectively persuades your audience to agree with your point of view. You may have already studied rhetoric in some of your English classes. In this lesson, we focus on the terms that I expect you to know for this class.

Ancient Greece is famous for being the birthplace of democracy.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are famous Greek philosophers.


Socratic Method: The best way to teach something is by asking questions.
Adversarial Method (Dialectic): The best way to discover the truth is by having an argument between two people holding opposing views.


Plato was student of Socrates. He wrote down the dialogues of Socrates.
He also wrote The Republic, a famous book about government.


Aristotle was a student of Plato.
He wrote a famous book on rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. That is, it is the art of speaking and writing persuasively.

Rhetoric was particularly important in ancient Greece, since most political decisions were made democratically.

Rhetoric was equally important in Ancient Rome.

For thousands of years, rhetoric continued to be part of the curriculum of every educated European.


Modern Curriculum

Classical Curriculum

Social Studies


According to Aristotle, there are three main rhetorical devices:

Ethos (Good Character)
Logos (Logic)
Pathos (Emotion)

However, in this class we are not so concerned with “classical” rhetoric, so I’m going to give you an “updated” list of rhetorical devices:

Appeal to reason (logos; use facts and figures and logical arguments)
Appeal to emotion (pathos, make the audience feel something)
Appeal to authority (quote some “experts”).

Sales and marketing professionals use these devices every day.

Politician use these devices too.

Appeals to emotion are an easy way to convince people to go to war.


Atrocities committed by
Saddam Hussein

Cost of the Iraq War

5,000 deaths
10,000 Injuries
rape and torture of hundreds of people

150,000 deaths
(30 times the number killed by Hussein)
1.8 million refugees
unemployment, malnutrition, and trauma way up
$900 billion U.S. tax dollars


Was the U.S. decision to invade Iraq in 2003 a logical decision?

With emotional arguments it is easy to manipulate people. (That’s pretty much the definition of propaganda: an emotional argument that short-circuits the rational part of the brain).

In the class, you will have many opportunities to practice the art of rhetoric. You will write argumentative papers and deliver speeches at model U.N. meetings. Your ability to persuade your audience will depend on your rhetorical skills. So keep in mind the advice that Aristotle offered more than 2,000 years ago. To successfully persuade someone of your point of view, you must:


Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.