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Brief Drawing

( Originally Published 1912 )

A KNOWLEDGE of brief-drawing is of great practical value to the man who would argue with force and effectiveness. It enables him to grasp his subject as a whole, to fasten it securely in his mind, and to present it in clear and logical order to others. A brief is divided into three parts, as follows :

The Introduction, which should clearly state the issue, explain the proposition, or define the terms of the discussion that is to follow.

The Discussion, which sets forth the arguments and proofs to be offered. This constitutes the main portion of a speech. The order should be climactic, leading from the known and conceded to the unknown and disputed.

The Conclusion, which sums up, or reviews, the essential points already enumerated in the discussion.

Before attempting to draw a brief, these rules should be carefully fixt in the mind.

Rule I. ; Set down each statement by itself.

Rule II, Make each statement clear and concise.

Rule III. Place your principal ideas as main headings.

Rule IV. Place your subordinate ideas as sub-headings.

Rule V. Indicate each and every statement by a separate symbol.

The brief is not the speech. It is a skeleton, plan, framework, or outline, which enables one to arrange his material in clear, logical, and effective order, before actually writing the speech itself. In this way much useless labor is obviated. The procedure is not unlike that of an architect and his drawings. He carefully plans every part of his building, and by means of specifications orders just the material required for his purposes. What would be said of a mail who should proceed to erect a building without any clearly defined plans? Yet the majority of men prepare a speech in precisely this way. They take a few sheets of paper, rest the head against one hand, and then commit to writing the ideas that ramble through their mind, without any special regard to order or system. The result is that the speech is usually a confused mass of material, lacking in force, clearness and cohesion. Such a speech, when delivered, is equally obscure and confusing to the listener, so that failure is not an uncommon result of such efforts.

The habit of brief-making teaches a man to be thorough and deliberate in the preparation of his speeches. It trains him to systematize his mental material: to arrange it in the most advantageous order, and to exclude everything irrele want and immaterial. Brief-making is particularly valuable to the business man who has important letters to frame and dictate. It is valuable to every man who aims to marshal his arguments in writing, conversation, or in public speaking, as to convince others—and win.

Hereunder are given two specimen briefs, showing the affirmative side of one subject and the negative side of another. These will be of suggestive value to the student, and should enable him to make further briefs of his own.





A. The suffrage should be extended to woman, because

(1) She is the subject of political rights.

(2) Her capacities and claims are equal to those of men.

(3) The franchise is an element of good citizenship.


A. The suffrage would make woman a power for good politics, since

(1) She would have a direct interest in local and national questions.

(2) She would help to make better laws.

(3) Her sphere and influence would broaden.

B. The suffrage granted to woman would better safeguard the home, since

(1) She knows best the needs of the home.

(2) She has the most vital interest in the children.

(3) She has the greatest interest in moral education.

C. It is not a valid argument against woman-suffrage to say that

D. It is not a valid argument to say a woman is well represented by her husband, for

(1) Representation by others can not be an adequate substitute for personal responsibility.

(2) There are many . unmarried women with property rights.

(3) Taxation and representation should go together.

(4) Women prefer to safeguard their own interests.

(1) Some women are indifferent to it, or

(2) They would not exercise it if they could, for

(3) The same may be said of many men.

E. It can not be maintained that women are deficient in public spirit, as shown by their

(1) Widespread philanthropic work.

(2) Books and writings,


(3) Ability to discuss the questions of the day.


A. The suffrage should be extended to woman, because

(1) It is her natural right.

(2) It is part of her citizenship.

(3) It would increase her power for the general good.

(4) It would enlarge her influence.

(5) It would better safeguard the home.

(6) It would give her just representation.

B. The suffrage granted to woman would be a guarantee of

(1) Better laws.

(2) More efficient education.

(3) Elevated political and morality.

(4) An ideal community.





A. Capital punishment has been sanctioned by custom from the earliest times, and

(1) This is a presumption in its favor.

(2) It is not brutalizing in the eyes of the public, since

(3) Many men approve it.


A. Capital punishment acts as a deterrent to murder, as

(1) Most men fear such punishment, and

(2) Would prefer imprisonment for life.

B. If guilty men escape, it is not a valid argument against the law, because

(1) (1)This is due to improper enforcement, and

(2) Is a reason for a more rigid application of ..the law.

C. Capital punishment is sanctioned by the Bible, as

(1) "Who sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." (Genesis 9: 6.)

(2) Other Bible passages.

D. It safeguards the community in numerous ways, as from

(1) Private revenge and

(2) Anarchy.

E. Capital punishment should be ex-tended,

(1) To reach every man guilty of murder, and

(2) To make him fear the law as inevitable.


Capital punishment should not be abolished, because

(1) It is expedient.

(2) It is just.

(3) It relieves society of a pest.

(4) It is in keeping with tradition.

(5) It upholds the sanctity of human


B. Punishment should be neither reformatory nor vindictive, but preventive, for

(1) Great crimes demand severe punishment, since

(2) You can not reform a criminal by leniency, and

(3) Our prisons are not reformatory.

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