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Agent of Action

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Many debate topics focus on the actions of a particular agent. This agent could be a person or an institution. Many parliamentary debate topics posit the "house" in which the debate is taking place as the agent of action for that topic: "This houlse would abolish the death penalty." In the United States, almost all of the annual policy debate topics have as their agent of action the United States Federal Government: "The United States federal government should establish a policy substantially increasing the number of persons serving in one or more of the following national service programs: AmeriCorps, Citizen Corps, Senior Corps, Peace Corps, Learn and Serve America, Armed Forces." A common problem in selecting policy debate topics for international competitions is deciding upon an agent of action.

Some topics leave open the agent of action: "The death penalty should be abolished." Debate topics phrased in the passive voice are often difficult to debate since they leave unspecified the agent of action.

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