english final exam


Question Description

This assignment asks you to respond to the topic both articles address with an argument of your own in an essay that is 4-6 paragraphs in length.

In your argument, be sure to:

  • Include a thesis statement identifying your position (opinion) on the topic. To develop your thesis, provide clear topic sentences/sub-claims/reasons. Each body paragraph should be focused on a specific sub-claim or reason.
  • Support your argument with evidence of and analysis from the provided texts, using correct MLA format for citations. Follow PIEIE paragraph format.
  • Be sure to address and respond to a counter-argument in your essay.

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Lower the Voting Age to 16 Laurence Steinberg; The New York Times. (Mar. 4, 2018) The young people who have come forward to call for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting at their high school in Parkland, Fla., are challenging the tiresome stereotype of American kids as indolent narcissists whose brains have been addled by smartphones. They offer an inspiring example of thoughtful, eloquent protest. Unfortunately, when it comes to electing lawmakers whose decisions about gun control and other issues affect their lives, these high schoolers lack any real power. This needs to change: The federal voting age in the United States should be lowered from 18 to 16. Skeptics will no doubt raise questions about the competence of 16-year-olds to make informed choices in the voting booth. Aren't young people notoriously impulsive and hotheaded, their brains not fully developed enough to make good judgments? Yes and no. When considering the intellectual capacity of teenagers, it is important to distinguish between what psychologists call ''cold'' and ''hot'' cognition. Cold cognitive abilities are those we use when we are in a calm situation, when we are by ourselves and have time to deliberate and when the most important skill is the ability to reason logically with facts. Voting is a good example of this sort of situation. Studies of cold cognition have shown that the skills necessary to make informed decisions are firmly in place by 16. By that age, adolescents can gather and process information, weigh pros and cons, reason logically with facts and take time before making a decision. Teenagers may sometimes make bad choices, but statistically speaking, they do not make them any more often than adults do. Hot cognitive abilities are those we rely on to make good decisions when we are emotionally aroused, in groups or in a hurry. If you are making a decision when angry or exhausted, the most critical skill is self-regulation, which enables you to control your emotions, withstand pressure from others, resist temptation and check your impulses. Unlike cold cognitive abilities, selfregulation does not mature until about age 22, research has shown. (This is a good reason to raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms from 18 to 21 or older, as some have proposed.) This psychological evidence is backed up by neuroscientific findings. Neuroimaging studies show that brain systems necessary for cold cognition are mature by mid-adolescence, whereas those that govern self-regulation are not fully developed until a person's early 20s. If the voting age were lowered, would that necessitate changing other laws to bring them into alignment? Of course not. We use a wide variety of chronological ages to draw lines between minors and adults when it comes to smoking, driving, viewing violent or sexually explicit movies, being eligible for the death penalty and drinking alcohol. Although the specific ages used for these purposes often lack a good rationale, there is no reason lowering the voting age would require lowering, say, the drinking age, any more than allowing people to drive at 16 should permit them to drink or smoke at that age as well. In addition to the scientific case for lowering the voting age, there is also a civic argument. Consider the dozen or so countries like Argentina, Austria, Brazil and Nicaragua that allow people to vote at 16 in national, state or local elections. In such countries, voter turnout among 16- and 17-year-olds is significantly higher than it is among older young adults. This is true in parts of the United States as well. In Takoma Park, Md., a city that permits 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections, that age group is twice as likely to vote than are 18-yearolds. Why is higher turnout among 16- and 17-year-olds so important? Because there is evidence that people who don't vote the first time they are eligible are less likely to vote regularly in the future. Considering that people between 18 and 24 have the lowest voter turnout of any age group in the United States (a country that has one of the lowest rates of voter turnout in the developed world), allowing people to begin voting at an age at which they are more likely to vote might increase future turnout at all ages. The last time the United States lowered the federal voting age was in 1971, when it went from 21 to 18. In that instance, the main motivating force was outrage over the fact that 18-year-olds could be sent to fight in Vietnam but could not vote. The proposal to lower the voting age to 16 is motivated by today's outrage that those most vulnerable to school shootings have no say in how such atrocities are best prevented. Let's give those young people more than just their voices to make a change. Don’t Lower the Voting Age to 16 Jeff Jacoby. 15 March 2019. Boston Globe Ayanna Pressley's first legislative proposal as a Massachusetts congresswoman was an amendment to lower the voting age for federal elections from 18 to 16. On March 7, the House of Representatives made short work of the measure, defeating it by a large bipartisan majority. In her floor remarks before the roll call, Pressley claimed that 16- and 17-year-old kids are qualified to vote by virtue of the “wisdom" and “maturity" that comes from being alive and confronting the “challenges, hardships, and threats" of 2019. “Some have questioned the maturity of our youth," she told her colleagues. “I don't." If that was her best argument for lowering the voting age, it's no wonder 70 percent of House members weren't persuaded. Then again, if Pressley has such unquestioning faith in the maturity of high school sophomores, why seek merely to give them the vote? To be consistent, she should push as well to lower the legal drinking age to 16. And the minimum age for buying cigarettes, handguns, and recreational marijuana. And the age at which one can adopt a child. And at which a criminal offender is automatically prosecuted as an adult. Come to think of it, Pressley should also want to lower the age of enlistment in the military to 16, and to require everyone reaching that age to register with the Selective Service System. After all, if the wisdom and maturity of 16-year-olds qualifies them to vote, why shouldn't it qualify them to be treated as adults in every other way? The reason all these activities are legally barred to kids in their mid-teens is because, as almost all adults understand, the “maturity of our youth" is in fact highly questionable. Certainly there are some 16-year-olds who are thoughtful and astute, but as a general rule — and public policy relies on generalizations — maturity comes later. That's a function not just of experience, but also of biology: Adult and teen brains operate differently. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with rational judgment and awareness of long-term consequences, doesn't fully develop until the mid-20s. Teens more often rely on the amygdala, the more emotional, primitive part of the brain. It isn't from gratuitous animus that car-rental agencies make it difficult for young drivers to rent a vehicle. Or that the Constitution establishes 25 as the minimum age to be a member of Congress. Of course, another reason that 16-year-olds are subject to so many restrictions that don't apply to grown-ups is that they don't know anything — or in any case, they don't know enough to be trusted to make sound decisions about liquor, firearms, joining the Marines, and governing the United States. The ignorance of teens is practically a cliché. “If you go to any college campus and talk to the first thousand 18-year-olds you meet," wrote Josh Gelernter in 2014, “you'll find five who are qualified to vote and 800 who don't know who Churchill was." In 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age nationwide from 21 to 18, largely on the strength of the claim that if 18-year-olds were old enough to be drafted — many young men were being called up and sent to Vietnam — they were old enough to be given the vote. The moral force of that argument couldn't be denied, but let's face it: The quality of American politics and governance wasn't improved by letting 18-year-olds vote. Like Pressley now, Senator Ted Kennedy then was sure that giving teens the vote would be a boon. “We will gain a group of enthusiastic, sensitive, idealistic and vigorous new voters," Kennedy said at the time. He was wrong. Newly enfranchised young people immediately became the least engaged cohort, invariably turning out to vote at a lower rate than any other age group. Speculation about a “youth wave" revives every election season, but it never amounts to anything: Turnout among voters in their teens and early 20s always lags far behind turnout among their elders. I don't share the popular fetish for maximizing voter turnout, and have long argued that people who don't have an interest in voting shouldn't be hectored to do so. Nonetheless, if Pressley wants to increase the level of voter participation and involvement, I have a suggestion. Instead of trying to lower the voting age, Boston's new congresswoman should lead an effort to raise it. Let's require Americans to wait until they are 25 before they can cast a ballot. That would immediately boost voter turnout, since participation in elections rises as the concerns of adulthood rise. The more likely people are to have jobs, to support themselves, to be married, to worry about schools or mortgages or taxes, the more likely they are to take an interest in how they are governed — and the more likely to show up on Election Day. Pandering to children will do nothing to elevate our democracy. Restoring the link between democracy and adulthood, on the other hand, just might. Young people who join the military should immediately be entitled to vote; everyone else should have to wait until they turn 25. Keep Americans from the polls until their prefrontal cortex has finished growing. More mature voters might just mean more mature politics. Isn't that an outcome worth pursuing? ...
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Tutor Answer

School: UT Austin


Should the voting age change from 18 to 16?
Like gun ownership, voting remains a highly controversial topic in the United States.
What makes these two topics as controversial as they are today is the fact that they are
interlinked based on how elected leaders make a decision. The suggestion to lower the voting age
from 18 to 16 is one that has attracted increased debate both among the elected leaders and the
public. While there are strong arguments on both sides of the debate, there is a need to determine
the effects of the move. Both Steinberg and Globe make strong arguments on why and why we
shouldn’t lower the voting age from 18 to 16. From their arguments, it's evident that such a
decision would have a significant impact on voter turnout and the quality of leaders elected at the
federal, state, and local level. Looking at the...

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