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Your thesis statement is the central argument of your essay. It must be concise and well-written.
- Your thesis goes in the introductory paragraph. Don't hide it; make it clearly asserted at the beginning of your paper.
- Your thesis must make an argument. It is the road map to the argument you will subsequently develop in your paper.
The key difference between an opinion statement and thesis statement is that a thesis conveys to the reader that the claim being offered has been thoroughly explored and is defendable by evidence. It answers the "what" question (what is the argument?) and it gives the reader a clue as to the "why" question (why is this argument the most persuasive?).
Examples of good thesis statements:
- "The ability to purchase television advertising is essential for any candidate's bid for election to the Senate because television reaches millions of people and thus has the ability to dramatically increase name recognition."
- The organizational structure of the United Nations, namely consensus voting in the security council, makes it incapable of preventing war between major powers."
1. Thesis statements must make a claim or argument. They are not statements of fact.
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.
Similarly, the claim "The United Nations was established to promote diplomacy between major powers." is not likely to inspire much debate.
2. Thesis statements are not merely opinion statements.
Statement of opinion:"Congressional elections are simply the result of who has the most money." This statement does make a claim, but in this format it is too much of an opinion and not enough of an argument.
Similarly, "The United Nations is incapable of preventing war" is closer to a thesis statement than the factual statement above because it raises a point that is debatable. But in this format, it doesn't offer the reader much information; it sounds like the author is simply stating a viewpoint that may or may not be substantiated by evidence.
In conclusion, your thesis should make clear what your argument is; it should also provide the reader with some indication of why your argument is persuasive.
For example: In the congressional elections example, why is money important (and whose money? The candidates'? Corporations'? Special interests'?), are other factors irrelevant (the candidates' views on the issues?) and for which types of elections is this true (is your argument equally true for Senatorial elections and elections for the House of Representatives? Why or why not?)?
In the other example, you will need to think about why the United Nations is not capable of preventing war. Your thesis should indicate that you have an understanding of the relevant historical circumstances and that you are aware of alternative explanations.
Of course, one can re-work a thesis statement indefinitely and one can almost always find something at fault with it. The point is that you must be sure that your thesis statement is indicating to your reader that you have an argument to make.
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Voting in the United States Should be Required by Law
At present, the United States does not require its citizens to vote. As a consequence, voter turnout during presidential elections has been traditionally low - between 50 to 60 percent of the population that is eligible to vote. Similarly, voter turnout for the 2014 midterm elections, at 36.2 percent, has been the lowest since 1942. These abysmal figures lead to the conclusion that the election result is not truly representative of the will of the people, and therefore make a strong case for mandatory voting.
First and foremost, mandatory voting will ensure that election results truly reflect the will of the voting public. When a significant proportion of the voting public chooses not to vote, the result of such an election is skewed in favor of those who exercised their right to vote. This very fact casts a huge question mark over the validity of the election result, and indirectly over the integrity of the election process. Mandatory voting ensures that the voices of the non-voting population, mainly comprising lesser-educated, younger and poorer Americans, will be heard. One argument in favor of mandatory voting is that it will force more Americans to pay attention to political issues in order to make more informed choices. Mandating voting will motivate Americans to learn more about the issues that matter to them, and develop opinions which will then translate into voting for the candidates who, in their opinion, can tackle these issues.
An opposing view is that mandatory voting will lead to careless voting, with the public only voting to fulfill an obligation rather than to bring about any change for the better. However, the Australian experience has shown otherwise. In Australia, voting has been largely corruption-free, and enjoys a 70 percent approval rating. The result has been a more equitable distribution of wealth, lower levels of corruption at the political level, and most importantly, more satisfaction with the democratic process as compared to the United States.
Many have also argued that mandating voting goes against the basic principles of freedom and liberty that the Constitution guarantees to every citizen of the United States. However, jury duty and primary education are also both mandatory, and no one has criticized them for this fact. Like jury duty and basic education, the potential benefits of mandatory voting far outweigh any perceived infringements of freedom, making a strong case for mandating the vote.