Essay Sample on Political Apologies

Image with word Sorry written dowm on wooden cubes.

A little while in the past, a close friend of mine engaged in a heated confrontation with one of our tutors. My friend had missed a continuous assessment test. Filled with rage, the tutor spoke harsh words while criticizing my friend. Later on, the tutor found out that my friend missed the CAT because he attended a court hearing where his only parent, the mother, was being tried for robbery. The tutor later wrote an apology, describing how sorry he was for the way he had reacted earlier. Apologies meaning – we present you a free essay sample on apologies in public and information on political apologies.

My friend gave me the letter to read. After going through it, I felt that the apologies were sincere. The tutor began by narrating that he was not aware of the facts at that time. He had mistakenly thought that my friend was giving a false excuse for not doing the test. But after hearing the same from a colleague, the tutor felt that he had done wrong and that he had to apologize for his initial reaction.

We deemed this apology successful due to two main reasons. One of the best decisions is to get more information on How to apologize professionally in an email. First, the tutor recognized his mistakes and wrote them in the letter. Secondly, the tutor did not feel awkward writing a letter to say sorry since it is rare for tutors to say sorry. The words and style of writing used in the letter were brief and straight to the point. The tutor formally presented his apology, hence making the apology feel deep from the heart. These factors precisely made the apology successful and effective.

Forms of Apologies in Different Countries

Forms of apologies countries use considerably depend on the type and magnitude of the offense committed (Harris et al., 2006). For instance, if a particular individual makes the offense in the government and the offended person or people are not many, they can issue a personal unreserved apology. If the crime was committed in the past, an explicit apology could be used. For instance, the Canadian government and the United States government issued an explicit apology accompanied with monetary compensation to persons of Japanese origin wrongfully detained during the second world war (Wood, 2014).

Guilt and Responsibility

Apologies often indicate an admission of guilt and responsibility. When it comes to government apologies, the government admits indeed that particular injustice was committed. For instance, the Canadian government admitted that Canadians’ wrongful detention of Japanese origin during the second world war was an injustice. Accounts of the unlawful detention victims indicate that they were dispossessed their property, detained without any trial, and were subjected to racial discrimination (Sugiman,2009).

This admission of injustice is, however, expected with retribution and compensation. When these injustices are said to have been committed in the past, punishment certainly cannot be possible. This is because the main perpetrators are not alive. Consequently, the only form of compensation that can be given is monetary compensation. Therefore, the notion of apologies being accompanied by punishment is not possible to offenses committed in the past by deceased government officials.

Government and Guilt Admission

Since apologies are deemed admission to guilt, a commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity do not provide room for apologies (Harris et al., 2006). This is because if the government admits guilt, someone has to be jailed or tried for it. Moreover, the gravity of war crimes cannot be offset by any form of apology. Therefore, many war crimes do not have any room for apologies.

Apologies in Political Science

Apologies become moot when they are more political. This is because apologies have to consider the nature of the offense, litigation, and an offer for compensation (Harris et al., 2006). This makes apologies in the political domain complex. Consequently, political leaders often refrain from issuing an apology unless the offense or injustice at hand was committed way in the past (Harris et al., 2006).

Public Apologies

Public apologies are in the public domain. Therefore, there is much scrutiny on the apologies. The more grievous the offense is, and the more influential the offender is, the less likely that a formal public apology will be issued by the leader (Harris et al., 2006). This is because political apologies often result in new controversies. Therefore, the implications and political power of the offender significantly determine the likelihood of a public apology.

Reconciliation Argument

I would recommend the justice before reconciliation argument and equality before the law argument concepts for Canada. This is because the two concepts aim at leveling the playing field before any reconciliation efforts. Justice will ensure that the previous injustices have been settled and beginning on a new slate is possible. Moreover, equality before the law will ensure that the minority has equal access and rights and their issues can be addressed without any further discrimination.

Political Apologies

Political apologies are interpreted to be acts of closure (James & Stanger-Ross, 2018). However, several practical and symbolic gestures can be used to enhance the process of restorative justice. First, the government can opt to issue compensations in the form of money. Moreover, the government can establish a task force or commission that can be relied upon to drive the reconciliation process. The two gestures can play a crucial role in softening the stance of the offended persons towards reconciliation. Additionally, the gestures indicate that the government is indeed committed to resolving issues raised by the victims of past injustices. In the long run, the process of reconciliation will be enhanced.


Harris, S., Grainger, K., & Mullany, L. (2006). The pragmatics of political apologies. Discourse & Society17(6), 715–737.

James, M., & Stanger-Ross, J. (2018). Impermanent Apologies: on the Dynamics of Timing and Public Knowledge in Political Apology. Human Rights Review19(3), 289–311.

Sugiman, P. (2009). “Life is Sweet”: Vulnerability and Composure in the Wartime Narratives of Japanese Canadians. Journal of Canadian Studies43(1), 186–218.

Wood, A. L. (2014). Rebuild or Reconcile: American and Canadian Approaches to Redress for World War II Confinement. American Review of Canadian Studies44(3), 347–365.