A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts such as surprising contrasts or similarities, and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a working thesis that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.
Compare this to the original weak thesis. This final thesis presents a way of interpreting evidence that illuminates the significance of the question. Keep in mind that this is one of many possible interpretations of the Civil War_it is not the one and only right answer to the question. There isn´t one right answer; there are only strong and weak thesis statements and strong and weak uses of evidence. Let´s look at another example. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain´s novel Huckleberry Finn. "This will be easy," you think. "I loved Huckleberry Finn!" You grab a pad of paper and write: Mark Twain´s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.
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