Italy emerged from a fascist dictatorship under Benito Mussolini to become a democracy after World War II, later helping to found both NATO and the European Union. Having enjoyed a prolonged economic boom beginning in the 1940s, Italy has since suffered from economic stagnation and political paralysis, as well as government malfeasance typified by the misdeeds of former Prime Min Silvio Berlusconi . Matteo Renzi , who replaced Enrico Letta as prime minister in 2014, faces the challenge of shaking the country out of its economic malaise and rooting out corruption.
This lesson is based on the belief that students cannot master an essay component such as the thesis statement in the abstract, but will best learn its nature by studying it in the context of a concrete historical problem. Therefore, the lesson's activities are based on an introductory essay and a set of primary source documents on one historical topic—the Haymarket Square bombing in Chicago in 1886. The Haymarket episode is a dramatic one that should also hold student interest well. A single DBQ on this topic and several alternate thesis statements are then used in three student activities. These illustrate what makes thesis statements effective, as well some common problems or mistakes in writing clear thesis statements. The lesson consists of the following handouts: