What is the Big Idea?

Writing a History Day Thesis
thesis is an argument or a hypothesis –
the main point of your work
• Should relate to the theme
• Should use primary sources to back it up
 Takes
a stand on a topic
 Incorporates the theme
• Actions and legacies
 Clear
 Strong focus
 Importance of person or event
 A person can read JUST IT and know
 Go
back to your research questions
• Your thesis should answer one or more of those
 Decide
which one seem most interesting
to you
 Think about how it relates to the theme
 Use the thesis statement hand-out
 The
following slide has some thesis
statements – your job will be to rank
them in order of weakest to strongest
• Be prepared to explain your justifications
This paper is about the status of African Americans
after the Civil War
After the Civil War, many freed African Americans
believed that their children would have substantially
better lives and greater opportunities than they had
had as slaves. However, their hopes for their children
were not fulfilled; in the 1880s, the lives of most African
Americans were not much better than those of their
once-enslaved parents.
After the Civil War freed African Americans faced
many challenges but also had opportunities.
A. The Civil War was a conflict.
B. The world had never seen a military conflict such as
the American Civil War.
C. The political compromises over the issue of slavery
were the direct causes of the conflict that led to the
American Civil war.
D. The Civil War was a conflict between the North and
E. The conflicts of race, politics, economics and
morality defined the American Civil War.
F. The Civil War was a conflict between North and South
that ended in a compromise.

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