Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable; it should predict the sub_theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument. Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.
The thesis statement usually appears near the beginning of a paper. It can be the first sentence of an essay, but that often feels like a simplistic, unexciting beginning. It more frequently appears at or near the end of the first paragraph or two. Here is the first paragraph of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s essay The Crisis of American Masculinity. Notice how everything drives the reader toward the last sentence and how that last sentence clearly signals what the rest of this essay is going to do.
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