The Policy Memo: As a deputy to Governor Gavin Newsom or President Donald Trump, you must prepare a 3-page position paper (with a 4th page for your sources/endnotes) in size 12 font, Times New Roman, double spaced, with one-inch margins, on a pressing U.S. domestic or foreign policy issue. You should write the memo in clear, persuasive, and succinct prose, have a title that indicates your view, and organize your memo into four sections: Your memo should have four separate but related sections spelled out and organized exactly like this: I. Background and Context of the problem (How did we get here?); II. Stakes for American domestic and/or foreign policy (Why should we care, economically, politically, and militarily?); III. Options for resolving the problem or issue (What should we do? You must provide at least three different options or schools of thought, giving the pluses and minuses of each); and IV. Your specific Recommendation, based on your analysis delivered in sections I-III (What do you think we should do, and why?). You must make your words count and this will require learning how to write actively! What you argue will remain less important that how you argue it. Pick something you care about; your passions always argue more convincingly than your platitudes. Do not write a book report! A policy memo tries to persuade the reader to choose between diverse options. Tell us what you think and argue why we should follow your advice.
Policy memos require active writing using active verbs. If you have never learned this technique, you will use it in this course.
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