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Persuasive Thesis Statement Examples

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When you are writing an essay, it is important to spend time focusing particularly on your thesis. This lesson provides you with some examples of how a thesis statement can look in the context of a persuasive piece of writing.

The Importance of a Thesis

So, you are hoping to write a persuasive essay, one that attempts to convince your audience that they should agree with you on a particular topic or theme. One of the things that is going to make or break your essay is the thesis statement. Essentially, a thesis statement summarizes the primary argument of your essay and foreshadows the major points you are going to make. It also grabs your readers’ attention and provides them with built-in motivation to continue reading your work. Usually, thesis statements are placed near the beginning of a work, often at the end of an introductory paragraph or lead-in of some sort. Toward the end of the essay, you may choose to rephrase your thesis as a way of leaving your readers with something to think about as they move away from your essay.

In persuasive writing, the thesis statement is particularly important because it encapsulates precisely what you are hoping to persuade your readers of. A reader should be able to move away from the thesis statement with a clear understanding of your major argument. This lesson provides you with some examples of what a persuasive thesis might look like. Obviously, your statement will reflect your particular style as well as the nature of the topic you are writing about, but these examples can function as templates for persuasive thesis statements.

Persuasive Thesis Statement Examples

Baseball is the most exciting, invigorating, and captivating sport.

A thesis statement like this one is particularly good for an essay in which you are trying to persuade your readers of the merits of one thing, whether it is a sport, a food, a movie, an animal, or something else entirely. You are not arguing against an opposition, simply for what you believe in. This thesis statement also sets the stage for an organizational structure oriented around the three major adjectives in the thesis.

Because of the needs of adolescents and their families, the high school start time in our community should be pushed back by one hour.

This kind of thesis statement is obviously oriented toward persuading readers of a specific viewpoint in relation to an issue with which they are at least somewhat familiar. The thesis statement articulates a generalized version of the main reasoning behind the argument, establishing an expectation that this thinking will be delineated in the essay. The thesis statement is clear and specific without getting into unnecessary detail.

If you are looking for a charity to donate to, look no further than Save the Trees!

This sort of thesis statement may sound less scholarly and more like an advertisement. It is oriented toward convincing readers to take specific and immediate action on a particular topic. The rest of the essay following a thesis statement like this one would offer three to five reasons why this particular charity is great. This sort of thesis statement is perfect for writing that hopes to achieve a specific, immediate, and measurable goal.

Children should exercise because it is good for their physical well-being, boosts their energy level, and promotes a positive relationship to their bodies.

This thesis statement demonstrates the importance of a positive framework to begin a piece of writing. The same argument could be made in reverse: Children who do not exercise are unhealthy, for example, or children should not sit around all the time. However, orienting persuasive writing toward what should happen or what readers should encourage or do makes a more compelling and appealing argument, as well as one less likely to alienate readers.

In this essay, I will argue that all teenagers should read J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

Sometimes, it is helpful to state outright what your essay will be about. Choosing to write your thesis statement this way can be helpful for improving the clarity of the argument. No one will have any cause to doubt what you are writing about, and all readers will be able to pinpoint your direction and purpose. Further, stating your goal outright can be a nice way to achieve an organization in which you do not deviate from working toward your overall purpose. All subsequent writing will point back to the thesis and what it promises to do.


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History

Writing a Thesis and Making an Argument

Almost every assignment you complete for a history course will ask you to make an argument. Your instructors will often call this your “thesis” — your position on a subject.

What is an Argument?

An argument takes a stand on an issue. It seeks to persuade an audience of a point of view in much the same way that a lawyer argues a case in a court of law. It is NOT a description or a summary.

  • This is an argument: “This paper argues that the movie JFK is inaccurate in its portrayal of President Kennedy.”
  • This is not an argument: “In this paper, I will describe the portrayal of President Kennedy that is shown in the movie JFK.”
What is a Thesis?

A thesis statement is a sentence in which you state an argument about a topic and then describe, briefly, how you will prove your argument.

  • This is an argument, but not yet a thesis: “The movie ‘JFK’ inaccurately portrays President Kennedy.”
  • This is a thesis: “The movie ‘JFK’ inaccurately portrays President Kennedy because of the way it ignores Kennedy’s youth, his relationship with his father, and the findings of the Warren Commission.”

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.

A Thesis Helps You and Your Reader

Your blueprint for writing:

  • Helps you determine your focus and clarify your ideas.
  • Provides a “hook” on which you can “hang” your topic sentences.
  • Can (and should) be revised as you further refine your evidence and arguments. New evidence often requires you to change your thesis.
  • Gives your paper a unified structure and point.

Your reader’s blueprint for reading:

  • Serves as a “map” to follow through your paper.
  • Keeps the reader focused on your argument.
  • Signals to the reader your main points.
  • Engages the reader in your argument.
Tips for Writing a Good Thesis
  • Find a Focus: Choose a thesis that explores an aspect of your topic that is important to you, or that allows you to say something new about your topic. For example, if your paper topic asks you to analyze women’s domestic labor during the early nineteenth century, you might decide to focus on the products they made from scratch at home.
  • Look for Pattern: After determining a general focus, go back and look more closely at your evidence. As you re-examine your evidence and identify patterns, you will develop your argument and some conclusions. For example, you might find that as industrialization increased, women made fewer textiles at home, but retained their butter and soap making tasks.
Strategies for Developing a Thesis Statement

Idea 1. If your paper assignment asks you to answer a specific question, turn the question into an assertion and give reasons for your opinion.

Assignment: How did domestic labor change between 1820 and 1860? Why were the changes in their work important for the growth of the United States?

Beginning thesis: Between 1820 and 1860 women’s domestic labor changed as women stopped producing home-made fabric, although they continued to sew their families’ clothes, as well as to produce butter and soap. With the cash women earned from the sale of their butter and soap they purchased ready-made cloth, which in turn, helped increase industrial production in the United States before the Civil War.

Idea 2. Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main Idea: Women’s labor in their homes during the first half of the nineteenth century contributed to the growth of the national economy.

Idea 3. Spend time “mulling over” your topic. Make a list of the ideas you want to include in the essay, then think about how to group them under several different headings. Often, you will see an organizational plan emerge from the sorting process.

Idea 4.Use a formula to develop a working thesis statement (which you will need to revise later). Here are a few examples:

  1. Although most readers of ______ have argued that ______, closer examination shows that ______.
  2.  ______ uses ______ and ______ to prove that ______.
  3. Phenomenon X is a result of the combination of ______, ______, and ______.

These formulas share two characteristics all thesis statements should have: they state an argument and they reveal how you will make that argument. They are not specific enough, however, and require more work.

Refine

As you work on your essay, your ideas will change and so will your thesis. Here are examples of weak and strong thesis statements.

  • Unspecific thesis: “Eleanor Roosevelt was a strong leader as First Lady.”  This thesis lacks an argument. Why was Eleanor Roosevelt a strong leader?
  • Specific thesis: “Eleanor Roosevelt recreated the role of the First Lady by her active political leadership in the Democratic Party, by lobbying for national legislation, and by fostering women’s leadership in the Democratic Party.”  The second thesis has an argument: Eleanor Roosevelt “recreated” the position of First Lady, and a three-part structure with which to demonstrate just how she remade the job.
  • Unspecific thesis: “At the end of the nineteenth century French women lawyers experienced difficulty when they attempted to enter the legal profession.”  No historian could argue with this general statement and uninteresting thesis.
  • Specific thesis: “At the end of the nineteenth century French women lawyers experienced misogynist attacks from male lawyers when they attempted to enter the legal profession because male lawyers wanted to keep women out of judgeships.”  This thesis statement asserts that French male lawyers attacked French women lawyers because they feared women as judges, an intriguing and controversial point.
Making an Argument– Every Thesis Deserves Its Day in Court

You are the best (and only!) advocate for your thesis. Your thesis is defenseless without you to prove that its argument holds up under scrutiny. The jury (i.e., your reader) will expect you, as a good lawyer, to provide evidence to prove your thesis. To prove thesis statements on historical topics, what evidence can an able young lawyer use?

  • Primary sources: letters, diaries, government documents, an organization’s meeting minutes, newspapers.
  • Secondary sources: articles and books from your class that explain and interpret the historical event or person you are writing about, lecture notes, films or documentaries.

How can you use this evidence?

  • Make sure the examples you select from your available evidence address your thesis.
  • Use evidence that your reader will believe is credible. This means sifting and sorting your sources, looking for the clearest and fairest. Be sure to identify the biases and shortcomings of each piece of evidence for your reader.
  • Use evidence to avoid generalizations. If you assert that all women have been oppressed, what evidence can you use to support this? Using evidence works to check over-general statements.
  • Use evidence to address an opposing point of view. How do your sources give examples that refute another historian’s interpretation?

Remember — if in doubt, talk to your instructor.
Thanks to the web page of the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Writing Center for information used in this handout. See http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/ for further information.

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