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English Rhetoric Paper - #2.

English Rhetoric Paper - #2. - Shawn Dawsey Professor Hyun...

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1Shawn Dawsey Professor Hyun English 104 20 March 2006 Decomposing Rhetoric: Coercing Views on Marijuana Although not always noticed, the use of persuasion in society is constant and foregoing, while most notably used in the form of rhetoric. Rhetoric seems to appear most visibly in highly debated topics, in which individuals on each side of the issue try to convince others of their correct viewpoint through three rhetoric modes: ethos, pathos, and logos. Since the 1930's, heated debate with regards to marijuana has created a rift between the American people, with conservative prohibitionists standing of the far right and law reform activists pushing for marijuana’s legalization on the left. Both factions employ the use of rhetoric in their debates and published articles, as each fights to attain majority favor in the public-eye. Two great examples showing the substance and diversity of rhetoric used in debates concerning marijuana are “Marijuana: Assassin of Youth” by the former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics Harry J. Anslinger, and assisted by Courtney Cooper, as well as pro-marijuana testimony given by M.D. Lester Grinspoon before the Crime Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives. In his article published in The American Magazine in 1937, Anslinger writes powerfully for marijuana’s prohibition and attempts to convince the general public that marijuana is ravishing America’s youth. Conversely, Lester Grinspoon’s gives testimony affirming marijuana’s
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medical benefits and uses rhetoric in an attempt to lead to passage of favorable cannabis legislation. While analyzing the articles, both Anslinger and Grinspoon use convincing rhetoric geared to their respected audiences effectively; although, Grinspoon’s well rounded use of rhetoric is more coherent and convincing than Anslinger’s, who plays too strongly on emotional appeal. As with any persuasive paper, the author must definitively establish credibility in the eyes of their readers in order to coerce their beliefs. Holding status as the Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics, and effectively becoming the most prominent figure in the war on drugs as America’s first “drug czar”, Anslinger wins many people’s trust before they even begin to read his article.
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