Providing a burden in a given round ensures the focus and productivity of every debate. In this article, we provide an overview of a burden, along with several examples.
A burden is something that a given side must uphold to win the round. It is important to introduce a burden for both yourself and the other side in every round. This helps with one of the most important aspects of debate - doing the judge’s job for them. Burdens should be fair but slightly lean to your side.
A burden helps you center the debate on an issue you think that you can win.
The burden should be introduced by the 1st speaker and expanded upon by your final speaker. If you both introduce a burden and uphold it, many judges will be inclined to give you the win based upon that alone.
Topic: The United States should have mandatory voting.
Proposition burden: We believe that the most important value, and thus, weighing mechanism for this round, is the promotion of the principles of democracy. The team that upholds this value will win today’s round.
Opposition burden: We believe that the most important value, and thus, weighing mechanism for this round, is the protection of the rights of Americans. The team that upholds this value will win today’s round.
Topic: Violent Revolution is justified in the case of oppression.
Proposition burden: We will win this round if we prove there is a moral justification for violence in the face of oppression. Opposition will win if they prove that violence does not justify further violence.
Opposition burden: We will win this debate if we prove that, on balance, violent revolution leads to worse outcomes for the oppressed. They will win if they prove it does the opposite.
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