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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Great History Thesis: Writing a History Thesis That Makes History

In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner wrote a history thesis entitled the Frontier Thesis.  In this essay, he argued that American History with all of its features of government and social growth were directly affected by the American Frontier experience.   He presented his thesis at the World Colombian Expo in Chicago that same year.

 Although a bit controversial, his thesis became famous worldwide.  In addition, it had a huge impact on the society of intellectuals who were concerned about American progress. They felt that the decision to close the frontier that was made by the US Census a few years previously would have a negative effect on the progress of the American people. 

The goal of every history thesis writer is to have a far-reaching effect on the present understanding of generally accepted ideas and beliefs.  The idea is to make an impact on the present thinking of all those who read the thesis and to change what has up to that point been considered accurate knowledge.   

This is what Mr. Turner accomplished with his thesis and with a little help writing a history thesis, anyone can reach these same goals.  This can be an intimidating task and usually counts for a major percentage of the grade required to obtain a graduate degree. The project of writing a history thesis will require a great deal of research and fact-checking.

The first step in preparing a history thesis is to choose a historical topic. It’s a good idea when constructing a history thesis to be specific in your topic choice. Generalities will not pique the interest of the professor assigned to read the thesis. For example, there are many subjects in history; like religious history, art history and economic history. 

But when writing a good history thesis, being specific means choosing precisely which religion, what type of art or what era of the economy to write about. Make sure you choose a topic that you are passionate about or this assignment will quickly become a dreaded chore.

After choosing your history thesis topic, think of a question that needs to be answered regarding this topic and particularly one that has never been asked or answered before. Research the question and then jot down a thesis outline to present to your instructor for approval. If it is well researched, he/she is not likely to reject your idea. 

He doesn’t have to agree with your conclusions, but he won’t be able to deny that it is worthy of presenting. After approval, jot down in one sentence, the main idea of the thesis. This is your thesis statement and a required part of the thesis. It may change slightly after you complete the thesis, but the main idea should stay the same.

A good history thesis will take several months to complete considering all of the research, fact-checking and organizing that will be necessary. When it comes time to type, include an Introduction, Background Information, Research Statement, Description, Conclusion and References. 

The entire thesis could end up being anywhere from 100 to 270 pages in length, but more important than length is achieving the goal of crafting a history thesis that makes history.

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