How to Undermine Your Argument

Your essay reflects your personal opinion supported by facts. It does not have the force of law. But you must not remind your readers that you’re making educated guesses.

Be like the authors of the Declaration of Independence.

State your claims as if they had been proven by science and a long tradition of universal acceptance.

Strike every expression of “I believe,” or “It seems to me,” or “In my opinion.”

The Declaration
Weak Suggestion of Independence

It seems to us that when, in the course of human events, it becomes advisable for one people to reconsider the political bands which have connected them with another, and to act as if they deserve among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God seem to suggest they are entitled, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind suggests that they should offer up for consideration the causes which indicate that they might be better off with a trial separation.

It seems to us that these truths are indicated by a preponderance of the evidence, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We believe that, to secure these privileges, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Unless we’re very much mistaken, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it ought to be the Right of the People to suggest some changes, and to recommend new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 


The (Robust Version of the)
Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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