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Political argument


A political argument is an instance of a logical argument applied to politics. Political arguments are used by academics, media pundits, candidates for political office and government officials. Political arguments are also used by citizens in ordinary interactions to comment about and understand political events. More often than not, political arguments tend to be circular, repeating the same facts as premises under perhaps slightly different guises. Much political argument concerns issues of taxation and government spending.

Political argument should be distinguished from propaganda, in that propaganda has little or no structure or the rationale, if it exists, is egregiously fallacious.

A classic example of political arguments are those contained in The Federalist Papers arguing in favor of ratification of the American constitution.

There are several ways of classifying political argument:

The purpose of argument is usually to sway belief. Political argument can occur in the context of political theory; for instance Machiavelli's The Prince can be regarded as advice to rulers based on various kinds of arguments. Political argument though is not generally a purely intellectual activity, since it may also serve the strategic goal of promoting a political agenda. One usually thinks of political argument as exclusive to democracies, but in fact some kinds of political argument may occur in undemocratic regimes as well, for example, to encourage greater sacrifice from the population, although it is more likely in such cases that propaganda will take the place of argument. In a democracy, though, political argument is particularly important, since there is a direct relation between the beliefs of citizens and the structure of power. Moreover the institutions of a democracy in part define the relationships between beliefs and power. In this case, political argument is an important element of political strategy. It is also possible that in a democracy, propaganda may also replace argument; indeed, much political advertisement has no discernible logical structure, and in our definition falls under propaganda.



  • Based on the purpose of the argument.
  • Based on the logical structure of the argument.
  • Based on the subject matter dealt with in the argument.
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Wikipedia

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