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Journey into The Unknown-Early 20th Century Immigration to the United States

Persuasive Writing
Teacher Page

Can you convince a reader to take your side?

Persuasive Writing

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.



PERSUASIVE WRITING EXERCISE: Imagine that you are a U.S. citizen during World

War II, and write a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt persuading him that the

interning of Japanese Americans in prison camps is wrong.


May 1, 1942

President Roosevelt:

I recently saw a shocking photograph in the local newspaper. It showed a Japanese American

woman from Seattlea U.S. citizen like mebeing taken to a prison camp by American

soldiers. This woman was being locked up just for being of Japanese descent! As an American

citizen I strongly oppose the internment of Japanese Americans. Even though Japan has

recently taken hostile actions against the United States, Japanese Americans have been loyal

U.S. citizens and do not deserve to be treated this way.

I agree that the United States was fully justified in declaring war on Japan for its recent

aggressive actions. During the past 20 years, Japan has had an aggressive foreign policy. In

the 1930s it twice invaded China to seize its natural resources. Japan even signed a defense

treaty with the Nazis in 1940 and invaded French Indochina the following year. Finally,

Japan attacked the United States last year at Pearl Harbor. All of these hostile actions justify

responses from the United States. Yet the U.S. government should not respond to Japans

aggressive actions by punishing U.S. citizens. Japanese Americans have at no time acted, or

been accused of acting, either against the United States or in favor of Japan.

Instead of being suspicious of Japanese Americans and putting them into internment camps,

the government should encourage these patriotic people to help defend the United States.

Most Japanese Americans were born in this country, after immigration from Japan was

restricted during the early 1900s. As a result, Japanese Americans are much more devoted to

America than to Japan. Thousands of Japanese Americans have volunteered for the U.S. Army.

President Roosevelt, please free the Japanese Americans from the prison camps. Just because

Japan has acted with unprovoked aggression for the past 20 years is no reason for our government

to punish Japanese Americans here at home. Instead, give Japanese Americans the chance to

prove their patriotism for the United States, as they always have.


Charlotte Mackenzie

ANALYSIS OF MODEL: The author introduces the topic of Japanese internment in an interesting

way, by describing a photograph. The rest of the introductory paragraph presents an opinion, that

internment is wrong, and offers a strong plea, that it should be stopped. The second and third

paragraphs each provide a reason for the writers opinion and use concrete evidence to support

these reasons. Additionally, the third paragraph proposes an alternative to internment: namely,

encouraging the participation of Japanese Americans in the U.S. war effort. The last paragraph

restates the main idea and encourages the intended audience, President Roosevelt, to take action.

This plea for action is particularly effective because it appealsto loyalty and fair playmoral and

ethical standards that are considered important American values.