History Day- Writing Historical Thesis Statements

advertisement

JUST FYI…

English= present tense

History= past tense

History Day project must be in the PAST tense since its History!

EXAMPLES

George Washington rides to battle in 1776.

MLK was active in the Birmingham chapter of the NAACP.

Rosa Parks decides to challenge the segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama.

Pablo Picasso revolutionized art in 1930s Spain.

Mark Twain writes about the issues of post Reconstruction America in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

1830s v 1830’s- which one is right?

Eighteen thirties or eighteen thirtie’s- which one is right?

WHAT IS A NHD THESIS STATEMENT?

A thesis statement tells the reader/viewer in one to two sentences what your project will attempt to explain or analyze and introduces your audience to what you hope they will learn from your project.

In a History Day project, the thesis takes a stand on a historical issue: it may

1. explain why or how something happened

2. express an interpretation related to the annual NHD theme

3. and suggest the larger significance of historical events or actions.

STEP ONE : PICK A TOPIC YOU LIKE AND

RESEARCH EVERYTHING YOU CAN ABOUT IT.

YOU MUST DO LOTS OF RESEARCH before moving on to writing a thesis statement.

Otherwise, you will not be able to interpret anything about your topic. Find out everything that you can about your topic and collect and interpret the evidence.

Historical interpretation is one of the most important History Day skills.

As you research, think about HOW your topic relates to the theme REVOLUTION,

REACTION, and REFORM.

STEP TWO : A GOOD THESIS DERIVES FROM A

GOOD QUESTION.

Since the thesis is your conclusion to a scholarly argument, there must be a clear question at stake.

A thesis which does not answer a question, or answers a simple or obvious question, is not a thesis.

You need to ask thoughtful questions of your topic and primary source material to develop a good thesis. The best theses are good precisely because the questions they answer are significant, complex, and original.

STEP TWO : ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS ABOUT

YOUR TOPIC.

Topic: Avon make-up company.

Questions I ask myself…..

-Is Avon an American company? When did they start the company? How did the company work?

-Did Avon revolutionize the lives of American women?

-If so, how did Avon revolutionize the lives of women?

-How can I prove it? What sources can I find? Can I call the company?

Can I interview women who lived in the 1930s and 1940s and ask women how they reacted to the company?

-Okay, so I found some information on my topic. Now which ones do I use and which ones do I leave out?

-Do I have enough information now to experiment with writing a thesis?

Did

Avon Cosmetics Company revolutionize the lives of

American women? Did women react positively or negatively to the company? How did the company reform its business practices over time?

STEP TWO: THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION

TO ANSWER IN YOUR THESIS STATEMENT IS…

HOW?

How did the

Avon Cosmetics Company revolutionize the lives of American women? How women react positively or negatively to the company? How did the company reform its business practices over time?

STEP THREE : DEVELOP A “WORKING THESIS”

A WORKING THESIS IS A TEMPORARY THESIS

STATEMENT. AS YOU RESEARCH MORE, YOU

WILL CHANGE IT SEVERAL TIMES. BE OPEN TO

THIS PROCESS. YOUR WORKING THESIS WILL

NOT BE YOUR FINAL THESIS.

Now I am going to introduce you to three different types of thesis formulas

1. Three part thesis

2. Cause and effect thesis

3. Although, therefore thesis

“THREE PART THESIS” FORMULA

THIS THESIS STATEMENT HAS 3 MAIN PARTS:

THE LIMITED SUBJECT

AND THE LIST

, THE PRECISE OPINION

OF REASONS .

,

Example:

Black Elk Speaks

accurately represents Indian lifestyle through its attention to cultural detail, its use of Indian words, and its direct quotes from Black Elk.

LIMITED SUBJECT

1 . Limited Subject

Black Elk Speaks

accurately represents Indian lifestyle through its attention to cultural detail, its use of Indian words, and its direct quotes from

Black Elk.

The limited subject tells the reader exactly on what, or whom the project focuses.

This will be your topic.

PRECISE OPINION

2 . Precise Opinion

The precise opinion gives your

answer to a question

about the subject. A good

precise opinion is vital

to the reader's comprehension of the

goal of the essay

.

Black Elk Speaks

accurately represents

Indian lifestyle by its attention to cultural detail, its use of Indian words, and its direct quotes from Black Elk.

In order to demonstrate college-level thinking, your opinion should be nonobvious, and it should be possible for a reasonable person to disagree with you. Someone should be able to argue with you!

LIST OF REASONS

Black Elk Speaks accurately represents Indian lifestyle by

its attention to cultural detail, its use of Indian words, and its direct quotes from Black Elk.

In the blueprint, the author signals an intention to support the precise opinion. The author of the example above introduces three different kinds of evidence: cultural details

Indian words quotes from Black Elk.

CAUSE AND EFFECT THESIS FORMULA

If you're not sure whether you have a good thesis statement, see whether you can fit your ideas into one of these basic patterns.

If...then thesis

Because

[reason (s)]

,

[something] [does something]

.

Example:

Because [of the lack of employment opportunities for American women during the

Great Depression], [the Avon Cosmetics company] [ revolutionized employment for women by establishing a multi-level marketing strategy which provided women with much needed jobs.] By changing their sales strategies, Avon product sales increased by 70% in the worst economic era in American History, proving that women had a positive reaction to the company.

3 part

WHICH THESIS FORMULA?

Cause and Effect Although, therefore

1. Despite the fact that Thomas Jefferson contributed to the American Revolution by authoring the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s other writings reveal that his idea of “freedom” was limited only to men like himself. Therefore the government reforms that would take place after the revolution were not as revolutionary as one might suspect.

2. Although the Black Panthers truly believed that they were the guardians of

American revolutionary ideals, their actions betrayed other priorities and rarely lived up to either their rhetoric or intentions.

3. The conflict between white settlers and Native Americans on the Great Plains can be attributed to differences in cultural values, ideas of land ownership, and notions of racial superiority.

4. Though thousands of American women joined the armed forces during WWII, their involvement was not welcomed by men. In her novel, Our Mother’s War, Emily Yellin explores the obstacles these women faced in their service to the war efforts through interviews, women’s diaries, and soldier’s letters.

ALTHOUGH, THEREFORE THESIS FORMULA

Although

[opposing evidence]

,

[reasons]

show

[Something] [does something else]

.

Although the invention of plastics in the 1940s and 1950s revolutionized American consumerism, recent scientific evidence reveals that plastics cause negative biological reactions . Many environmental activists and reformers are therefore working to pass laws regarding plastics uses.

TAKE A LOOK AT THESE 3 EXAMPLES OF THESIS

STATEMENTS ABOUT WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE.

WHICH ONE IS BEST?

1. The Nineteenth Amendment was important because it gave women the right to vote.

2. In the late 1800s, the Ohio Woman’s Suffrage Association was formed to gain voting rights for women. They debated with the state legislature until 1919 when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed.

3. The debate over women’s suffrage stretched from the mid 1800s to the early

1900s, as woman struggled to gain a voice in politics. Suffragists challenged the traditional views of women’s roles and ultimately succeeded in securing the 19th amendment, becoming political players, and inspiring future generations of women to fight for equal rights.

EXAMPLES OF THESIS STATEMENTS:

Bad: George Washington set many important precedents as president.

This is a fact not a position.

Good: The precedents that Washington set as America’s first president greatly benefited the American political system.

This is a clear position that can be supported or opposed.

Weak: The Revolutionary War brought about change in American society.

This is, technically, a position. But, it is vague and not really debatable.

Strong: The Revolutionary War ushered in a slew of wide-ranging and permanent social changes in American society.

This is a clear, strong, and debatable thesis.

Assignment:

You will write an essay in which you demonstrate your knowledge of the American West in the late 1800s. You will answer the essential question (EQ) below in the form of a thesis statement (can be more than one sentence) and support your thesis with several examples from the unit

( lecture notes, primary sources, textbook readings, documentary clips shown in class, and the film

Dances with

Wolves

). The purpose of this essay is to introduce you to the

History Day theme and for me to assess your writing.

UNIT ONE ESSAY TEST

EQ: How did the settlement of whites to the West in the late 1800s revolutionize (dramatically change) the west? How did Native Americans react to these changes and how did they change) their way of life?

reform (permanently

RUBRIC

Criteria for Success

Thesis statement

Exceeds Standard

25 points

Directly answers the EQ in the form of a thesis statement. Thesis statement is creative, original, and clearly worded.

Meets Standard

18 points

Developing Standard

10 points

Makes attempt to answer the EQ but may lack originality or creativity. Syntax may be awkward.

May not directly answer the EQ but makes an attempt. Syntax is awkward.

Below Standard

0 points

No attempt at thesis made.

Evidence and vocabulary from the unit

Student utilizes at least 3 pieces of evidence from the unit including primary and secondary sources in each body paragraph. Uses key vocabulary from the unit. Student elaborates on his/her ideas.

Student utilizes less than 3 pieces of evidence from the unit including primary and secondary sources in each body paragraph. Uses a few vocabulary words from the unit. Could use more elaboration.

Student utilizes fewer than 3 pieces of evidence from the unit. May only use secondary sources in each body paragraph. Student does not use enough vocabulary. Lacks elaboration.

No attempt at providing evidence.

Structure, Arguments, and organization of ideas

Writes at least 5 paragraphs. Each paragraph has a major argument that directly links to the thesis statement. Ideas flow logically from argument to argument.

Writes 5 paragraphs but links between arguments and thesis may be lacking.

Flow of ideas may need revision.

Writes fewer than 5 paragraphs. Links between arguments and thesis may be lacking. Flow of ideas may need revision.

Many areas in need of improvement.

Mechanics/grammar Uses good writing techniques learned in English class. No errors in mechanics/grammar.

Uses mostly good writing techniques. Few errors in mechanics/grammar.

Many areas in need of improvement. Needs one on one help with writing.

STEPS TO WRITING YOUR ESSAY

Step One: Brainstorm all the information you know about the West from this unit. Pull out all your notes and handouts.

Step Two: Work with making a thesis statement. Write a few down using the formulae I just went over.

Step Three: Write your essay. Avoid common writing problems their, there, they’re avoid passive voice

The dog was bought by Heather.

Heather bought the dog.

avoid personal pronouns

I, we, your, you avoid contractions can’t, won’t, don’t

Download