Natural Rights and the Rights of Englishmen

Natural Rights and the Rights of Englishmen, 1763-1776

Preparation: Complete assigned reading and write an essay that answers the module response question.

Reading: Context: Last Best Hope by William J. Bennett, pages 62-86. Primary Sources: Stamp Act Congress, Declaration of Rights; William Blackstone, “Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals”; First Continental Congress, Declaration and Resolves; Edmund Burke, “Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies”; Second Continental Congress, Declaration of the Cause and Necessities for Taking Up Arms, “Olive Branch” Petition; George III, “Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition”; Thomas Paine, Common Sense; Virginia Declaration of Rights; Declaration of Independence.

Module response question: Did Americans resist British authority on just grounds between 1763 and 1776?  

Module Response Essay Assignment Instructions

Respond to the assigned prompt in a persuasive academic-style essay (maximum 700 words of regular text, NOT including the prompt, honor code, title, header, or footnotes). You should cite evidence from class readings and lectures in supporting your judgment.

Grading: Your task in this essay is to demonstrate your comprehension of the given module’s readings and lectures while presenting a thoughtful, persuasive argument. Essays that (a) merely repeat class notes or (b) are filled with general, abstract statements or platitudes will not score well.

Each essay will be graded out 50 points based on the following standards:

0-30: Quality of overall argument in response to the essay prompt – an excellent essay will respond to the prompt with a strong thesis, sound arguments in support of that thesis, and persuasive evidence in support of those arguments, presented in an orderly, reasonable, substantive, and, at times, original way.

0-20: Quality and quantity of incorporation of class materials – an excellent essay will show mastery of the specific material covered in a module’s readings and lectures and incorporate it in appropriate ways in responding to the essay prompt.

Format: Include the prompt and the TKC Honor Code (below) at the beginning of your essay. Use Chicago-style footnotes for all citations, noting the author (if applicable), title of document (book for Bennett), and page number for each citation of class readings. For lecture notes, indicate the module and lecture
number. Give a full Chicago-style footnote for any other sources.

Penalties: Students will be penalized in 2-point increments for distracting stylistic, spelling, and grammar problems commensurate to their severity. Students will be penalized 2 points for every twenty-five words above the maximum word count (i.e. no penalty for 701-724 words; 2-point penalty for 725-749 words, etc.).


The Honor Code & Plagiarism: “A student of The King’s College will not lie, cheat, steal, or turn a blind eye to those who do. Every student is honor bound to confront any other student who breaches the Honor Code.”


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