American Revolution Lesson: Introducing Claims in Argumentative Writing

This is the second in a series of lessons that teach research and writing skills around the topic of the American Revolution. Also, don’t forget to have students cite their sources in MLA format, APA format, or Chicago style.


Overview

In this lesson, you will learn how to introduce precise, knowledgeable claims and to establish their significance.

Claims in Argumentative Writing

Argumentative writing is based on a claim. A claim states your position on a topic. It is an arguable statement that is supported by evidence.

There can be many different types of claims:

  • Claims of fact: whether or not something is true
  • Claims of cause and effect: whether or not an event led to an event that followed it
  • Claims of value: whether or not something is good
  • Claims of policy: whether one course of action is better than another

Writing Claims

Your goal is to write a precise, knowledgeable claim. In other words, you want to craft a position statement that makes an argument, introduces your reasoning, and describes exactly what you will say in your essay.

How to Write Claims

You want to make your claim as focused, or precise, as possible. Claims must be debatable as well.

Do this by:

  • Telling your reader your answer to a question
  • Introducing your reasons
  • Telling your reader the categories of evidence you will discuss
  • Arguing a position with which others may reasonably disagree.

In argumentative writing, claims take on the role of thesis statements. For example, The American Revolution was a world war becauseis the beginning of a thesis statement.

Why is Your Claim Significant?

Your claim needs to answer the question “So what?

You can do this by explaining the significance. Significance is important because it goes beyond the statement of facts; significance indicates how your argument fits into a larger debate. As a writer, you want to make sure your claims are provocative and interesting. The significance statement implies a “because” with an opinion to back it up.

Claims Significance: Example

For example, a claim about the American Revolution being a world war could indicate significance by stating “this was the only war of its type in history,” or, “without the involvement of other nations, the Americans would not have won.”

Either statement positions your argument within a bigger historical conversation.

earth53.png

Historical Claim Example

Read the claim:

Different countries fought with the American during the Revolution and this is what made it a world war.”

Then, listen to the clip below:

Here is an example of a claim that answers the question:

Can the American Revolution be considered a world war?

Think about what could be done to strengthen the claim.

Historical Claim Example

Listen to the clip below:

Here is an example of a revised claim to answer the question, “Can the American Revolution be considered a world war?”

The American Revolution became a world war when France, Spain and the Netherlands allied and fought with the United States in North America, the Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere during the Revolution, forcing the British to agree to American independence. The presence of multiple foreign allies and a global theater for the conflict, the American Revolution became a world war.

Conclusion

In this lesson, you learned how to write precise and significant claims.