Writing Thesis Statements
Academic essays ususally have a thesis statement, a one- or two-sentence summary of a paper’s main point, usually found at the end of the introduction. Below are a few guidelines for thesis statements.
A thesis statement should be specific about what your paper will argue.
Some students believe that their thesis statement should be vague so it doesn't give the argument away. In fact, your thesis statement is supposed to give the argument away--that's its job! Without a clear idea where your paper is going, it is difficult for readers to follow your points as you make them in the paper.
- be vague or mysterious
- This essay will give my reaction to Al Gore's view of global warming.
- be as specific as possible
- While Al Gore does provide some strong evidence for global warming, he relies too heavily on scaring his audience, which weakens his argument.
A thesis statement should describe the paper's overall argument, not the main point of each body paragraph.
One strategy commonly taught to beginning writers is to list the topic of each body paragraph in the thesis statement. While this is a good way to learn the principles of organization, it has a few problems. One is that it doesn't lead to a complex main point for your paper. Also, it only works for a short paper--imagine writing this type of thesis statement for a ten or twenty-page paper! For this reason, you should avoid listing the body paragraphs in your thesis statement unless the assignment or your teacher has told you to do so.
- list the topics of each body paragraph (unless the assignment instructs you to do so)
- The play Macbeth shows that men and women differ in emotionalism, loyalty, and the way they deal with guilty feelings.
- explain your larger topic
- The differences between Lady and Lord Macbeth's reactions to Duncan's murder demonstrate Shakespeare's view that men are more simplistic and straightforward than women.
A thesis statement can be more than one sentence long, if necessary.
Students are often taught that a thesis statement should only be one sentence in length. While one sentence is ideal, it is not desirable to have an incredibly long, complicated sentence that will confuse your reader. It is fine to have a two-sentence thesis statement in these cases. In fact, once you split up your long sentence, you may find that the new second sentence can stand along as a thesis statement, as in the following example.
- squish too many ideas into a single sentence
- Many people believe that the Constitution is an unquestionable document whose ideas must be taken literally, but I believe that the Constitution is a living document that should be open to interpretation and updated as our country progresses, while still keeping within the general ideals that our nation was founded upon.
- split up your sentence if it gets too long
- Many people believe that the Constitution is an unquestionable document whose ideas must be taken literally. However, I believe that the Constitution is a living document that should be open to interpretation and updated as our country progresses, while still keeping within the general ideals that our nation was founded upon.
Want more strategies for working on thesis statements? Go to the page on Observation + Analysis.
The Founding Of The Constitution
In May, 1787 delegates from the 13 colonies of the United States met together in Philadelphia. The delegates formed the Founding Fathers and the meeting became known as The Constitutional Convention or The Philadelphia Convention. The purpose of the convention was to form a set of rules for the government and laws of the United States of America.
THE FOUNDING FATHERS
George Washington was voted as the president of the Constitutional Convention. His response was to apologise for any errors he might make during the proceedings for he felt under qualified for this huge responsibility. George Washington was not the only famous name among the delegates.
The Founding Fathers were people who contributed to the Constitution. Founding fathers who were present in Philadelphia included:
- Benjamin Franklin
- James Madison
- Alexander Hamilton
- Roger Sherman
Not all of the Founding Fathers were present at Philadelphia however they became known as Founding Fathers due to contributions that were made to the seven articles that became The Constitution. There many reasons why Founding Fathers were not all present including a suspicion of the purpose of the convention. Thomas Jefferson however had a different reason for not attending because he was acting as the American ambassador to France.
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION
The 13 colonies all agreed on the Articles of Confederation as a ruling law on how the colonies would be governed. This was first drafted in 1776 and had undergone many amendments before the Constitutional Convention met.
Each of the Founding Fathers had contributed either in the articles or the convention itself. The purpose of the Constitutional Convention was to agree on how to rule The United States of America and end the civil war once and for all now that the British had given The United States their freedom.
The Articles of Conferation compromised of seven separate articles covering many laws of government including:
- Article One – a description of congress
- Article Two – a description of the President
- Article Three – a description of the court system
- Article Four – a description of relations between states and federal government
- Article Five – a description of the amendment process
- Article Six – a description of federal laws and treaties
- Article Seven – a description of the frame of government
Each of the 13 States came together under the Constitution in order to become one independent country separate from Britain.
The Founding of the Constitution allowed all the colonies to unite together under one set of rules and one government. From this point in time the 13 colonies became the United States of America.