Loyola University Maryland


Common Text Essay Contest for How To Win An Election

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Cover Art For How To Win An Election Book

Answer one of the two prompts below using only the Common Text and your intellect. That is, no outside resources are needed in this exercise in reflection and discernment. The goal is original thought inspired by careful reading. Your essay should be no longer than 5 double-spaced, typed pages.

To be eligible, please submit an original essay based on the prompt below to Dr. Douglas B. Harris, Co-Director of Messina and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, at messina@loyola.edu no later than midnight on August 16, 2016. Three prizes of $350 each will be awarded.  We will celebrate the winners during Fall Welcome Weekend at the Common Text Convocation on September 2. 

Essay Contest Prompts (choose either A or B): 

A) Making specific reference to How to Win an Election and the tactics and strategies that Cicero advises his brother to employ, write a letter advising 2016 American voters on how to “read” the reality (beyond the rhetoric) of the 2016 presidential election. Consider the ways that our two major party candidates running for President are using tactics and strategies reminiscent of those Cicero outlined, and advise voters on how to avoid falling for their manipulations.

B) Making specific reference to How to Win an Election, write a letter advising one of the two major party presidential candidates on how to win the 2016 presidential election.  Thinking of your letter as an updated version of How to Win an Election, and employing How to Win's strategies where possible, provide your candidate with effective modern electoral advice.  In this letter directly addressing the candidate, you, as the advisor, should be clear on whether or not you wish to advise the candidate to stoop to the same kind of pandering or morally questionable tactics that Cicero offers to his brother.


Contact the Messina Office at 410-617-2669 or visit www.loyola.edu/Messina for a list of academic and support services available to Loyola students, including helping you make the transition to campus and college life.

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