How Do You Write a History Thesis Statement



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How Do You Write a History Thesis Statement???

Why bother with these??

  • In EVERY SINGLE ESSAY for APWH the thesis is the very first point graded
  • If you miss the thesis point you will miss the points for supporting evidence and the most you could end up with is a grade of a 3-4 out of 9
  • If you can’t write a thesis statement correctly, the writing in the course is going to be very difficult for you

Ok, so what exactly is a thesis statement?

  • A thesis statement is one or more COMPLETE sentences that convey the main idea of the essay
  • A successful thesis statement shares the main idea of the paper. Ideally someone could just read your thesis and know what you would be addressing in your paper

What else should I know about a successful thesis?

  • A strong thesis should NOT be too:
    • Broad
    • Vague
    • Narrow
  • A thesis is a roadmap: it gives the reader the direction you are heading, but doesn’t give every detail of the path (that is what the body is for)

So what is NOT a thesis?

  • Anything in question format
    • EXAMPLE: What were the comparisons between the Romans and Ottomans?
  • A thesis is NOT just restating the topic of the essay.
    • EXAMPLE: I will compare the Ottoman and Roman Empires.

These are BAD examples of thesis statements in APWH

  • COMP: There were many similarities and differences between the Shang and Zhou dynasties
  • Why is this bad??? It doesn’t tell me that you know any history. A 4th grader can write this thesis. Give me an example of a sim and diff that you can build on in the body

These are BAD examples of thesis statements in APWH

  • DBQ: The Roman Republic can be seen politically, economically, and socially.
  • Why is this bad??? Again, it doesn’t give me the direction you are headed in. Give an example of how the Romans are political, economical, and social.

These are BAD examples of thesis statements in APWH

  • CCOT: There are many continuities and changes in Indian Ocean Trade from 600-1450.
  • Why is this bad??? Well it does include the time period (which is good) but as before it doesn’t give any examples of what changed and what stayed the same. It is also lacking a turning point (which we will discuss)

SO, LET’S SEE IF YOU CAN GIVE THIS A TRY…

See if you can find the thesis in this paragraph!

  • Psychologists have argued for decades about how a person’s character is formed. Numerous psychologists believe that one’s birth order (i.e. place in the family as the youngest, oldest, or middle child) has the greatest influence. Birth order can have a significant impact in the formation of a child’s character. Birth order can strongly affect one’s relationship with parents, relationships with others, and how one views responsibility as an adult.

Remember… a thesis can be 1-2 sentences

  • Psychologists have argued for decades about how a person’s character is formed. Numerous psychologists believe that one’s birth order (i.e. place in the family as the youngest, oldest, or middle child) has the greatest influence. Birth order can have a significant impact in the formation of a child’s character. Birth order can strongly affect one’s relationship with parents, relationships with others, and how one views responsibility as an adult.

Let’s try a history example…

  • Throughout history empires have sought expansion as a way to increase the strength of the civilization and gain power for the rulers. Two empires of the ancient world, the Roman in the east and the Byzantine in the west, were no exception. Both the Romans and the Byzantines wanted to have a large empire to have access to profitable trade in the Mediterranean, yet the Romans had the geographic advantage of being able to expand to the east and west while the Byzantines were geographically forced to expand to the north.

Here’s the answer…

  • Throughout history empires have sought expansion as a way to increase the strength of the civilization and gain power for the rulers. Two empires of the ancient world, the Roman in the east and the Byzantine in the west, were no exception. Both the Romans and the Byzantines wanted to have a large empire to have access to profitable trade in the Mediterranean, yet the Romans had the geographic advantage of being able to expand to the east and west while the Byzantines were geographically forced to expand to the north.

So how should I set up my essay with the thesis?

  • The Introduction:
  • Broad opening sentence
  • THESIS STATEMENT

So how should I set up my essay with the thesis?

  • The Body Paragraphs:
  • The number of body paragraphs can vary depending on the topic and style of essay you are writing (COMP, CCOT, DBQ). However, the body paragraphs should ALWAYS support your thesis with historical evidence.

So how should I set up my essay with the thesis?

  • The Conclusion:
    • Note: NEVER include new info in the conclusion, you should have already done that
  • Get more broad as you conclude (about 2 sentences)
  • Last sentence should wrap up essay

Ok, putting it all together you should style your essay…

  • INTRODUCTION
  • THESIS
  • BODY PARAGRAPHS
  • CONCLUSION

Now that your brain is full of this invaluable knowledge it is time to put it to use. Pull out your pen because it’s time to practice!!

  • I understand thesis statements, do you?



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