A brief outline will make it easier to
develop topic sentences and to arrange your
paragraphs in the most effective order.
You should begin your outline by stating the thesis of
- The English Civil War was caused by a combination of factors,
including the empowerment and organization of Puritan forces, the
absolutist tendencies of James I and the personal ineptitude of his
son Charles I.
Next, list the topic sentences for each of the
paragraphs (or sections) of the paper:
- The war and its aftereffects lasted twenty years.
- Historically, the Protestants had believed themselves
- In the 1620s Protestants dominated Parliament and attempted to
enact legislation which would provide guidelines for both religious
worship and political representation.
- During his reign in the early 1600s, James I had attempted to
silence Puritan protests and to solidify the role of the monarchy as
unquestioned head of state.
- Charles I's lack of personal diplomacy and his advisers' desire
for personal power gave the Puritans the excuses they needed to
declare war on the monarchy.
You might notice that the topic sentences derive
directly from the thesis, and explain, prove, or expand
on each of the thesis' claims.
Once you have an outline at hand, you can follow three
steps to help you write your paragraphs effectively:
- Use your thesis to help you organise the rest of
- Write a list of topic sentences, and make sure that
they show how the material in each paragraph is related
to your thesis.
- Eliminate material that is not related to your
thesis and topic sentences.