By popular demand, here’s another essay challenge. By my own personal financial constraints, I can only award ONE winner this time. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

Assignment: Should the needs of the many outweigh the desires of a powerful few? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Submit your essays as comments below. To be considered, they must be submitted before 12:01 AM EST Tuesday morning. I’m looking for clear, concise writing in SAT essay format. Which means I need to be able to believe that what you submit could fit on 2 pages, hand-written, and that you did it in 25 minutes. I will send the winner a free copy of the PWN the SAT Math Guide. You cannot be anonymous to win.

Please note: I will score every essay and try to give a few notes about each one, but there can only be one winner, even if two essays get the same score. It’s possible, for example, that I award two essays a score of 11, which is the highest score. I will pick which one I personally like better to be the winner. That’s just the way it’s gotta be.

Good luck!

UPDATE: I’m really happy with the quality of the responses I’ve been getting with these contests. Congrats to Jaclyn, who won this round, and thanks to all submitters. Keep your eye out for more contests in the future!

Comments (19)

This is my essay that I wrote and I am here today to talk about the prompt that you had gave. I agree that majority rules and the few shouldnt be special. My examples are next

The majority rules cause on my  basketball team thats what my coach says.


in school my teacher says that our class gets to vote on what we do sometimes. And sometimes we get to do what we want. These are my examples

This is my first example

heres my second one out of the 3 that I will be talking about today. 

Sometimes when I don’t want to do something I will tell my parents what I shoud do; and they say to do stuff. So I listen and I am the majority and they are the special few so that happends someitimes.

I don’t have a 3th example cause I forget I only have 2 not 3.

SO: as you see by many many well thoughted examples. my essay is very nice and thoughtful. and I hope that you see how well it is done. 

My conclusion is yes to the prompt if you had been wondering.

My name is macy bells

So send there to virginia and I live in pittsburgh I live at 534 west street. And my moms name is sharrel so send to her name.

I’m thrilled you could appreciate how terrible it was. This actually took a lot of effort to get it this bad=)

Although the powerful few may have the influence to force their desires over others, they cannot maintain their power if their desires deprive the majority of its happiness. The majority, fueled by a shared anger, will eventually force the few to bend to its desires in the end. The French Revolution and the recent
overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime show that if their desires conflict with the needs of the majority, government officials will fall.

                Before the French Revolution, King Louis and Queen Antoinette lived very lavish lives while the rest of their country suffered famines and economic turmoil. Eventually, the mass populace grew so outraged at its monarchs’ failure in leadership that it
executed both rulers, overthrew the monarchy, and adopted a more democratic government that allowed rule by the people. King Louis and his wife focused
more on their own entertainment than on the needs of their people; even when they tried to appease their citizens in the end, the public did not show mercy
because it had endured too much suffering. They should not have focused on their own desires because it led to their deaths.

                Similarly, the Libyan dictator, Muadmar Qaddafi, ruled his country for 40 years and failed to meet the needs of his people. He didn’t hesitate
to use military force to squash any rebellion against his regime, limiting the freedom of speech. Although it
took almost half a century, Libyan citizens joined together in an uprising. This also prompted other countries nationwide to support the insurgents against the dictator and his crimes against humanity, eventually leading to his death. This shows that while Qaddafi had the power, money, and resources to oppress his
people’s desires for change for 40 years, his dictatorship caused the majority
of Libya and other countries to unite and fight for his defeat.

the French Revolution and the Libyan Revolution show that the powerful few will be overthrown if their desires unfairly outweigh the needs of the majority. In
the French monarchs’ and Muadmar Qaddafi’s cases, their injustice came at a deadly cost.

In the end, I found out that I spelled MUAMMAR Qaddafi’s name wrong.. oops! 

I appreciate any feedback that you can give me. Thank you.


COMMENTS: Not bad! You chose two great examples, but both could use another sentence or two to flesh them out a bit more. I’d like to see some more specificity in your French Revolution example. In what ways did the monarchs ignore their populace? How did they try to appease them in the end? Same goes for your Libya example: I want more details! As a general rule, the more hard fact details you can give, the better your essay will be. 

Rule of thumb: your example paragraphs should be MUCH longer than your intro, and WAY WAY WAYYY longer than your conclusion. Forgive this hackneyed metaphor: you should think of your essay as a sandwich. The intro and conclusion are the bread, and your examples as the meat and veggies that make the sandwich good. Give me more of the good stuff!

The needs of many certainly outweigh the desires of a powerful few, as the majority is more powerful. When a majority is deprived of its needs by the powerful minority, the majority often fights back violently until its needs are fulfilled. Several examples from history demonstrate that the needs of a large faction more important than the needs of a small faction.
As shown by the French Revolution, the indigent majority led a prolonged, bloody revolution against the aristocratic upper class in its quest to achieve social equality. The impecunious third estate members were tired of struggling to make a living, starving to death, and having to pay higher taxes while the aristocratic first estate was ignorant toward their issues. For example, an apathetic Marie Antoinette replied, “Let them eat cake” upon hearing that famished peasants were outside her castle demanding bread to eat. Shortly after, the first estate members violently stormed the Bastille, a royal palace, and brutally executed King Louis and his wife, Marie Antoinette. After overthrowing the oppressive monarchy, the first estate established a more democratic government and decades of peace ensued. Therefore, the French Revolution clearly shows how the needs of the majority outweighed aristocratic desires, and the majority was willing to resort to violence to support its cause.
The American Revolution also demonstrates how the desires of the majority are of greater importance than the needs of a powerful few, as the colonists were forced to resort to violence to gain their freedom. American colonists were tired of the oppressive rule of King George III. King George saw America as merely a source of taxes and raw materials for Britain, and instituted repressive policies that left the colonists feeling abused. As a result, the colonists demanded basic rights and freedoms, such as the right to trade with other nations besides Britain and “no taxation without representation.” Decades of tension finally culminated in the Declaration of Independence that was presented to King George and the Revolutionary War that soon followed. Thousands of brave American soldiers died to ensure America would be free from King George’s despotic policies. America won the war, becoming a free and independent nation, and prospered in the proceeding years. Once again, the American Revolution exemplifies how the needs of the colonists (the majority) were far more important than the needs of British monarchy (the minority), and the colonists fought to gain their desired freedom.
After a careful analysis of the French Revolution and the American Revolution, one can see that majority’s desires are, indeed, much more important than the powerful minority’s desires. When the needs of the majority are not fulfilled, violence erupts and society can fall into chaos. Fulfilling the needs of the majority is the only way to prevent such destructive happenings.


COMMENTS: Nice work. Both examples are well-developed. There are a few sentences you could probably do without (like the last one in your American Revolution example, which just repeats what you just said). As an essay writer, you need to walk a fine line between reinforcing your thesis with every sentence, and repeating yourself. Also, avoid overselling in your conclusion. You’ve written one paragraph each on the French and American revolutions–two events about which books hundreds of pages long are written. You’ve done a nice job of using them to support your argument, but scholars of those revolutions might bristle at your use of “careful analysis.” 

You already got a book in the last contest, so you can’t win, but this is another good effort from you. 🙂

The needs of the many clearly outweigh the desires of the few. If the needs of the common people are not met, the outcome is brutal. Several examples from history during the French Revolution and current event of the Occupy Wall Street elucidate that the needs of many must be met before any whims can be indulged.

During the French Revolution, the powerful top aristocrats indulged in exorbitant spending as well as inconceivable luxury. However, the necessities of the common people were not met. People died from starvation and many other reasons, which could easily have been controlled had the rich minorities actually cared. When the majority of the people were stripped of their basic human rights, forced to do anything in order to suffice their needs, and uncertain of their survival, the result was atrocious. The minorities were inhumanely executed by the common people during the French Revolution. The needs of the many were not met, and this repression worked to strengthen the majority to start a revolution. Therefore, the atrocious outcome of the French Revolution demonstrate that failure to take heed to the need of many can lead to widespread chaos and rebellion.

The current movement of Occupy Wall Street clearly demonstrates the brutal outcome when the common people’s voice is neglected and therefore stripped of people’s basic human rights. The Occupy Wall Street is about meeting the majority’s needs. When the “99% of the people” are neglected, people are willing to take any action for survival. Many people rebel against the exorbitant spending of the powerful few riches in the Wall Street. 

After careful scrutiny of the French Revolution and the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is apparent that sufficing the needs of many is indeed crucial. When the desires of the powerful few are met before the needs of many, the repressed are willing to take any action to suffice their needs.

SCORE: 9. 

COMMENTS: You’re off to a good start here, but your second example about OWS just doesn’t say enough. I know you were rushed, so I imagine it would have been better developed had you had a full 25 mins. In general, I recommend staying away from phrases like “after careful scrutiny,” because really it’s quite difficult to carefully scrutinize any major issue in 25 minutes, or in a 2-page handwritten essay. In other words, don’t oversell your conclusion. If you take out that first sentence, your conclusion becomes stronger. You don’t need a conclusion at all to have a good score…but if you’re going to include one you should remember the maxim “less is more.”

I see. Thank you for the comments. I really appreciate them. You’re absolutely correct about my second example about OWS being extremely weak. Have you ever read “How to write a 12 essay in 10 days” by AcademicHackers? What do you think about this strategy? I’m inclined to try out the method, but I’m afraid it might not suit me too well. I scored a 10 and an 11 on my previous SAT attempts. I would really love to receive a 12 on the January SAT. A 12 on the essay would certainly facilitate my goal for an 800 in Writing.

One more thing: can you grade my essay again if I revise it? I’m not really sure what distinguishes a 12 essay from a 10 or an 11 essay.

I’ve not read “How to write a 12 essay…” thoroughly, no. My impression is that it’s pretty formulaic, so it doesn’t exactly jive with the way I like to write. If you feel the same way, you’re wise not to shoehorn your own style into someone else’s format.

The differences between 12s and 10s and 11s are often subjective. I can tell you that I’ve seen many essays that have scored 12 that I wouldn’t have given a 12 myself, and I’ve seen essays that scored lower that I would’ve given 12s. So I’m happy to look at a revision, if you want, but even if I give it a 12 that doesn’t mean the graders you get will. 

Last note: you can get an 800 writing without a 12 essay. In fact, you can get as low as a 9 and still get that 800 if you are perfect on the multiple choice. Given the variability in essay scoring, the best way to ensure an 800 is to nail down the grammar rules. 

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