Friday, September 24, 2010

Persuasive Essay on Drinking Age

Persuasive Essay on Drinking Age

We live in a country that prides itself on being free, but some people feel they do not have as much freedom as they deserve, like the freedom to drink legally at a younger age. The legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 years old because at the age of 18 you are seen as an adult in the eyes of the law. The target audience of this paper is anyone in the state of Iowa who is 18 or older and has an opinion on this issue one way or the other. This paper will show why the drinking age should be lowered to 18 years old and what is wrong with some of the arguments made for why it should stay where it currently is, which is 21 years old.

The audience for the speech will be a very broad one so I will have to use a variety of styles and arguments to appeal to everyone. The type of argument I will be making is a proposal argument. I am calling for an action, lowering the legal drinking age, and I am focusing on the future. The warrant for my claim is that if you are seen by the law as an adult then you should be able to drink. For the speech I will be using reason and common sense just as much if not more than I will be using individual statistics. This is mainly because the audience is so broad that one style of arguing wont appeal to everyone.

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The legal drinking age in Iowa is currently 21 years old. It was changed from 19 years old to 21 in 1986 when the federal government threatened to take away federal highway money from states that did not have a 21 year old drinking age. Many people thought raising the legal age to 21 was a good idea. However, in every single state where the drinking age was changed to 21, alcohol consumption by people within the 18 to 20 year old age bracket actually increased (Feeny B6). This is a very strong appeal to logos because it is a fact that surprises most people. Many argue that part of the appeal of underage drinking is the fact that you are not supposed to be doing it. This is a point that has been proven time and again with other things such as prohibition. Just because you make something illegal it does not mean that people are just going to stop doing it.

The United States has the highest and most strictly enforced drinking age in the world. Our youth alcohol policy is ineffective and may actually have the reverse effects of what it is designed to do. It is applied so rigidly in most of the country that it precludes any attempt to teach young people how to drink responsibly. Under the current laws many young people learn to drink in unsafe environments. They use alcohol with the intention of getting drunk rather than as an accompaniment to food. Americans in the 18 to 20 year old age range do dangerous binge drinking far more often than the rest of the world who learn to drink in the open (Shefchik).

A speech on a subject like this would not be fair unless you showed both sides of the argument. The number one argument by supporters of the 21 year old limit is that it reduces alcohol related traffic deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated 16,000 lives have been saved as a result of raising the legal drinking age to 21 (Straszheim).

An argument against that statistic by those who don’t believe it is that there may be other reasons for the reductions in traffic fatalities, such as safer roads. Another argument is that young people start drinking long before they turn 21 even with the age limit (Goodale).

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