You are tasked with critically comparing the Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress with the Declaration of Independence. You are not writing an essay (yet anyway!) but rather framing it according to the steps below. Some of the instructions and guidelines therewith are lifted directed from The Comparative Essay by Vikki Visvis and Jerry Plotnick (https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/comparative-essay/).
Use only the two documents provided and your own critical thinking to complete this exercise.
- Do not brainstorm with a classmate, friend, parent, or anyone else.
- Do not seek out other written or audio-visual sources.
- Especially do not google the prompt to see what anyone on the internet has to say about this.
Develop a list of similarities and differences between the two documents; including obvious things is okay (like one is dated October 24, 1765 and one is dated July 4, 1776; both are written by English colonists), but stretch your critical thinking skills to identify not-so obvious things as well.
- Consider your list as a whole and what could serve as a tighter basis of comparison between the two documents—what concern, belief, theme, or something else is common to both documents? Identify a basis for comparison. It is okay to flag (highlight/circle) items on your list that more closely align with this basis of comparison.
- Considering your basis of comparison and your list, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences (or vice versa) between the two documents. Create a thesis statement that reflects the relative weight of similarities to differences.
A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are patterns of the two main cases:
Differences outweigh similarities:
While Document A and Document B both ________, Document A ___________. In contrast, Document B ____________.
Similarities outweigh differences:
Although Document A and Document ___________, they share _____________.
Outline a structure for your analysis. There are two common approaches to structuring analysis like you are doing in this exercise.
Alternating Method: Point-by-point Pattern
In the alternating method, you focus on points common to both documents A and B, and alternate between A and B on the basis of these points (ABABAB …). It looks roughly like this:
Common point 1 & Document A
Common point 1 & Document B
Common point 2 & Document A
Common point 2 & Document B
Common point 3 & Document A
Common point 3 & Document B
Block Method: Subject-by-subject Pattern
In the block method (AB), you discuss all of A, then all of B. This approach works when your analysis is more conceptual. Sometimes your ideas about Document B (or thing B) build on or extend ideas from Document A (or thing A). This technique allows for a higher level of critical engagement, continuity, and cohesion.
This approach roughly looks like
Document A focus
Document B focus
Submit all four parts of this assignment (numbered above and offset in bold) in an attached file.