How to write a Thesis Statement

Thesis Statement Guidelines

 

  • A thesis statement is a concise, short summary of your argument
  • Can be 1-3 sentences in length
  • Each point of your thesis should be a page or two of your paper.
  • Never use passive voice (but especially in a thesis statement)

 

How to write a thesis statement

First of all, begin by answering each essay question in your own words.

For example, using Question #2 with the questions that needs to be answered in bold:

 

According to Fischer, ideas about race and gender became increasingly rigid and hierarchical over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries.  Using Suspect Relations, Stono Rebellion, and at least one other source from our readings, please answer the following questions:

How did laws reinforce social status? 

Did violence play a role in enforcing these new ideas? How?

How did these forces curtail or expand the agency of different segments of colonial American society? 

Did race, class, and gender work together to create and sustain a social and political hierarch in the American colonies? How?

How to write a Thesis Statement

Answer each question in own words, in 1 sentence:

  1. How did laws reinforce social status?

Laws and punishments tried to prevent people of different races from having relationships and social interactions.

  1. How did violence play a role in enforcing these new ideas?

A person’s race determined the type and intensity of violence that they experienced.

  1. How did these forces curtail or expand the agency of different segments of colonial American society? 

Law and violence was geared towards controlling enslaved African Americans, and destroying their independence. White men had expanded control over those laws and punishments.

  1. How, then, did race, class, and gender work together to create and sustain a social and political hierarchy in the American colonies?

*this question is the main essay prompt. Answer each one individually:

Violence and punishment was based on the person’s race.

A person’s class was based on their race and gender.

White women’s sexuality was regulatedand their actions symbolic of a successful social order.

 

*there should be similarities between all of your sentences. Merge together those that are similar. Ex.:

Race                     Class                                                    Gender

Type of Violence.          determined by race                 women were regulated

Punishment                gender                                                                white men in control

Laws                                                                                                                                    this priv. denied to black men

Class

 

Thesis statement:

White men controlled the bodies of enslaved African Americans and white women through the use of laws and violence, creating a society in which a person’s race determined different classes.

 

 

 

 

You can also take the final question and create a sentence.

 

The social and political hierarchy of the American colonies was based on the laws, violence and interactions experienced by people based on their race, class and gender.

 

A thesis statement can also be several sentences.

 

White men managed the bodies of enslaved African Americans and women through the use of laws and violence. As a result of the different experiences of slaves and women, a class system developed based on a person’s race.

 

In the American colonies, race determined a person’s class in society. A person’s class and gender dictated the laws and violence that they would be subjected to in colonial society.

 

Examples of weak statements:

 

Race, class and gender impacted the social and political hierarchy of the American colonies.

*This statement does not answer how race, class and gender impacted society.

 

White men controlled enslaved African Americans through the use of violence and laws that limited their agency.

*Need to also include race and class in the statement.

 

Race determined the colonial system of class on race, with enslaved African Americans treated with violence. Also, men determined the actions of women, who were also considered low class.

*Statement is not concise. Need to connect all three (race, gender and class) as working together, not as two random thoughts.

 

Power in North Carolina was divided along lines of race, class, and gender as laws were implemented to ensure that poor whites and enslaved blacks were kept separate.

*The three instances of passive voice obscure the historical agent.

How to write a Thesis Statement

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