Sample Question: To what extent did the Civil War constitute a revolution in American society?
STRUCTURING AN INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH:
1. General Statement. Briefly introduce the reader to the subject.
(Example: “The Civil War, occurring between the years 1861 and 1865, was the most devastating conflict in American history.”
2. Establish your basis for analysis.
Example: “In many ways, the conflict forever altered the way Americans viewed their government and their nation.”
3. Provide a partition that establishes three major sub-topics you plan to discuss.
Example: "Constitutionally, the war established the supremacy of the federal government over the states. Politically, the war established the supremacy of the Republican Party in national politics for much of the next fifty years. And socially, the war saw significant gains in African American rights."
Example: "Therefore, the Civil War did, in fact, represent a revolution in American society."
The following paragraph is written with the above outline in mind.
The Civil War resulted in a constitutional revolution in several ways (topic sentence #1). First, the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery (Evidence 1), ended an institution in America that had lasted well over two centuries (significance). Such a monumental change in the Constitution is certainly grounds for considering this amendment revolutionary (relates to thesis). Moreover, two more amendments were passed within a few years of the Civil War. The 14th and 15th Amendments gave African Americans citizenship and the right to vote, (Evidence 2) rights that had never been given to Blacks throughout the U.S. These two amendments were certainly revolutionary, as African Americans now enjoyed rights that up until this time had been largely denied (significance/relate to thesis). Furthermore, although the Constitution did not specifically declare that the federal government had gained more power over the states, the fact that the Union won the war and forced the South to accept these amendments ultimately proved that nullification issues would no longer plague the U.S. as they had earlier in the 19th century. (Additional evidence/significance) Ultimately, this forever altered the way the federal government and the states would interact. (relates to theses).