thesis vs argument
Statement of fact: “A candidates ability to afford television advertising can have an impact on the outcome of Congressional elections.” This is essentially an indisputable point and therefore, not a thesis statement.
Guide to Writing Thesis Statements
An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. “Reasons for the fall of communism” is a topic. “Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe” is a fact known by educated people. “The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe” is an opinion. (Superlatives like “the best” almost always lead to trouble. It’s impossible to weigh every “thing” that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn’t that be “the best thing”?)
This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a “soft-on-crime” image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you’ll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.
A thesis makes a specific statement to the reader about what you will be trying to argue. Your thesis can be a few sentences long, but should not be longer than a paragraph. Do not begin to state evidence or use examples in your thesis paragraph.
Main Idea: Women’s labor in their homes during the first half of the nineteenth century contributed to the growth of the national economy.
Example of a strong thesis statement:
Example of weak thesis statement:
“Oakland, Calif., Mar. 1942. A large sign reading “I am an American” placed in the window of a store, at 13th and Franklin streets, on December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor. The store was closed following orders to persons of Japanese descent to evacuate from certain West Coast areas. The owner, a University of California graduate, will be housed with hundreds of evacuees in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration of the war.”
Historical context (time, events, place, and people): WWII, Pearl Harbor, Japanese people (U.S. citizens, immigrants, Japanese nationals–Issei, Nisei,Sansei), West Coast, California, Executive Order 9066, internment camps, xenophobia, President Roosevelt, relocation, General John DeWitt, Fred Korematsu, Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese American servicemen.