Whether it’s for a political science class, government class, or history class, you will eventually have to write a political essay. A political essay explores the various explanations for particular events that have transpired in the past and the different effects of those events on society and politics.
Political essays can be pretty challenging for students because the depth and scope of the subject matter can be quite vast. Additionally, a lack of knowledge about the workings of government and the political process can make writing a political essay quite difficult.
Fortunately, we’ve created a handy guide detailing essential components of political essay writing. Additionally, we’ve included 150 political essay topics students can use to get started.
The Basic Components of a Political Essay
Regardless of the topic’s complexity, political essays all have the same essential components – an introduction, a thesis, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Students can create an assertive and well-crafted political essay by understanding how these components work together.
The introduction of a political essay should grab the reader’s attention and give them an overview of the main points covered in the essay. An excellent way to do this is by starting with a provocative statement or posing a thought-provoking question. A great example of a political essay introduction could sound something like:
“In a world where the powerful seem to always get their way, is there any hope for democracy?”
The Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is the most critical component of a political essay. It is the main argument or points that the essay will be making. Everything else in the essay should support the thesis statement. A thesis statement is probably the most challenging part of writing a political essay for many students because it can be challenging to distill the essay’s main argument into one or two sentences.
Some tips for writing a strong thesis statement include:
- Make sure that the thesis statement is arguable. In other words, it should be something that someone could reasonably disagree with.
- Be as specific as possible. A thesis statement that is too vague will make it difficult to write a strong essay.
- Keep it short and to the point. A thesis statement should be no more than one or two sentences.
Great examples of a political essay thesis statement include:
“The current state of democracy is in danger due to the rise of populist leaders who exploit the fears of the people.”
“The government should do more to combat the rising inequality in society by implementing policies that help the working class.”
The Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs of a political essay are where the essay’s main argument will be fleshed out in detail. Each body paragraph should focus on one specific point that supports the thesis statement. When writing body paragraphs, it is essential to:
- Start with a topic sentence that introduces the main point
- Support the topic sentence with evidence from credible sources.
- Connect the evidence back to the thesis statement.
- Repeat for each body paragraph.
The conclusion of a political essay should sum up the main points of the essay and leave the reader with a solid and clear understanding of the argument being made. A great conclusion should:
- Restate the thesis statement in different words.
- Summarize the main points of the essay.
- Leave the reader with something to think about.
Some examples of final thoughts to end a political essay could be:
“It is clear that democracy is under threat from populist leaders. However, there is still hope as long as people remain engaged and fight for their rights.”
“The current state of democracy may be troubling, but it is nothing new. Throughout history, there have always been those who seek to undermine it. The key is to remain vigilant and to stand up for what we believe in.”
The Do’s and Don’ts of Political Essay Writing
While the tips above will help you write a solid political essay, there are also some things to avoid if you want your essay to be successful. Here are some dos and don’ts of writing a political essay:
Do research your topic inside and out.
A well-informed essay is always more persuasive than one that simply regurgitates the opinions of others. When researching, always use reliable sources and take good notes so you can easily refer back to them later.
Don’t forget to proofread and edit your work.
No matter how well-written and informative an essay is, if it is full of typos and grammatical errors, it will likely not make a good impression on the reader. Before submitting, proofread your work and fix any errors you may have missed.
Do be sure to stay objective.
A political essay is not the place for you to share your personal opinions. Instead, it should be a well-reasoned and unbiased exploration of the topic at hand.
Don’t forget to cite your sources.
If you use any information from outside sources in your essay, be sure to properly cite them according to the required citation style. Not only is failing to do so plagiarism, but it also makes your argument look weaker if you cannot back up your claims with evidence.
Do try to be concise.
A political essay is not the place to ramble on and on. Instead, get to the point and make your argument in as few words as possible. This will keep the reader engaged and prevent them from getting lost in your essay.
150 Political Essay Topics
With the advice above, you should be well on your way to writing a successful political essay. However, if you need some additional inspiration, here are 150 more essay topics to get you started.
Political Essay Topics About History
- Compare and contrast the policies of two different presidents.
- How did the Cold War shape American foreign policy?
- What was the most significant event of the 20th century?
- How did the American Revolution change the political landscape?
- What were the causes of World War I?
- How did Napoleon Bonaparte rise to power?
- What were the significant effects of the French Revolution?
- Compare and contrast the American and French Revolutions.
- What caused the fall of the Roman Empire?
- How did Ancient Greece contribute to modern democracy?
- What were the major political parties of the 19th century?
- How did the Industrial Revolution change the political landscape?
- What were the major triggers of World War II?
- What was the Holocaust, and how did it impact politics?
- How did the Cold War end?
- What are the legacies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher?
- How has the European Union changed over time?
- What are the major political parties in power today?
- Compare and contrast the administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
- How has social media changed the way we engage in politics?
Political Essay Topics About Ideologies
- What is the difference between socialism and communism?
- What is capitalism, and how has it changed over time?
- What is Marxism, and what are its significant tenets?
- What is fascism, and how did it come to power?
- How do different political parties view taxation?
- What is the role of the government in a capitalist society?
- How does socialism differ from fascism?
- What is the difference between conservatism and liberalism?
- What is the difference between nationalism and patriotism?
- How do different political parties view welfare?
- What is the role of the government in a socialist society?
- How does communism differ from socialism?
- What is the difference between democracy and dictatorship?
- What is the role of the government in a communist society?
- How do different political parties view education?
- What is the difference between environmentalism and climate change activism?
- What is the role of the government in protecting the environment?
- How do different political parties view gun control?
- What is the role of the government in ensuring public safety?
- How do different political parties view healthcare?
Political Essay Topics About International Relations
- Compare and contrast the foreign policies of two different countries.
- How has globalization changed the international political landscape?
- What are the major causes of war?
- How does terrorism impact international relations?
- What is the role of the United Nations in international politics?
- What are the significant issues facing the European Union today?
- How has the European Union changed over time?
- What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and what is its role in international politics?
- What are the major issues facing NATO today?
- What is the difference between developed and developing countries?
- How do developed and developing countries view each other?
- What is the role of the International Monetary Fund in international politics?
- What are the significant issues facing the International Monetary Fund today?
- What is the World Trade Organization, and what is its role in international politics?
- What are the major issues facing the World Trade Organization today?
Political Essay Topics About Social Issues
- How has the abortion debate changed over time?
- Discuss the political influences that make someone pro-choice or pro-life?
- How has the gay rights movement changed over time?
- Has the government been effective in stymieing the rise of racism?
- What is the difference between sexism and misogyny, and is one political party more prone to it than another?
- How has the Me Too movement changed the conversation about sexual assault and harassment?
- What is the relationship between poverty and crime, and does politics have anything to do with it?
- What is the relationship between education and income inequality?
- Has the government been effective in tackling income inequality?
- How do different political parties view reproductive rights?
- How does religion influence politics?
- What is the relationship between immigration and crime?
Political Essay Topics About Economic Issues
- Should political affiliation have any bearing on economic policy?
- What is the difference between a free market and a command economy?
- How has globalization changed the world economy?
- What are the major issues facing today’s world economy, and are politics to blame?
- Should voters or Congress be responsible for economic policy?
- What is the role of the government in an economy?
- How do different political parties view taxation?
- What is the difference between Keynesian economics and supply-side economics?
- What is the difference between laissez-faire capitalism and crony capitalism?
- How have politics funded the rise of inequality in the United States?
- Should the rising cost of healthcare be considered a political issue or a social issue?
- How do different political parties view deregulation?
Political Essay Topics About Politicians
- Compare and contrast the political careers of two different politicians.
- Analyze the effectiveness of a politician’s political campaigns.
- Discuss the role that charisma plays in politics.
- How much does a politician’s personal life influence their political career?
- What is the difference between a successful and unsuccessful politician?
- How do special interest groups influence politics?
- What is the difference between a lobbyist and a politician?
- What is the difference between a career politician and a term politician?
- Compare and contrast the political ideologies of two different politicians.
- Are career politicians more effective than term politicians?
- How do campaign finance laws influence politicians’ decision-making processes?
Political Essay Topics About Elections
- Should the Electoral College be reformed or abolished?
- What is the difference between primary and general elections?
- Discuss the role that voter turnout plays in elections.
- How does gerrymandering influence elections?
- How do campaign finance laws influence elections?
- What is the difference between open and closed elections?
- Should there be term limits for politicians?
- Should people be allowed to vote by mail or early voting?
- How did democratic elections come to be?
- Should voting be mandatory?
- How can we make sure that every vote is counted?
- What is the difference between a hung parliament and a coalition government?
- Should countries have more than two political parties?
- What is the difference between a first-past-the-post system and a proportional representation system?
- What is the difference between a parliamentary system and a presidential system?
Political Essay Topics About Laws and Regulations
- How does a bill become a law?
- What is the difference between a law and a regulation?
- How do regulatory agencies influence politics?
- Discuss the pros and cons of gun control laws.
- Should there be stricter penalties for hate crimes?
- Should the death penalty be abolished?
- Should there be term limits for Supreme Court justices?
- What is the difference between civil law and criminal law?
- How do interest groups influence the passage of laws?
- Should there be limits on campaign spending?
- Should corporations be allowed to donate to political campaigns?
- What is the difference between a veto and a filibuster?
- How does the process of impeachment work?
- What is the difference between judicial review and judicial activism?
- Should members of Congress be allowed to vote for pay raises?
Political Essay Topics About Foreign Policy
- Should the United States have a policy of isolationism?
- How does foreign aid influence politics?
- Should the United States intervene in other countries’ affairs?
- How does the United Nations influence politics?
- What is the difference between diplomacy and foreign policy?
- How do trade agreements influence politics?
- What is the difference between an alliance and a treaty?
- How do sanctions influence politics?
- What is the difference between a colony and an empire?
- How does decolonization influence politics?
- How do border disputes influence politics?
- What is the difference between a refugee and an immigrant?
- How does immigration policy influence politics?
- What is the difference between a country and a nation?
- How does nationalism influence politics?
Political Essay Topics About Civil Rights and Liberties
- What is the difference between civil rights and civil liberties?
- How do the Bill of Rights and the Constitution influence politics?
- Should there be limits on free speech?
- How do hate speech laws influence politics?
- Should there be limits on the right to bear arms?
- How do gun control laws influence politics?
- What is the difference between a search warrant and a warrantless search?
- How do search and seizure laws influence politics?
- How do Miranda rights influence police interrogation?
- What is the difference between probable cause and reasonable suspicion?
- How do stop and frisk laws influence politics?
- Should there be limits on police use of deadly force?
- How do racial profiling laws influence politics?
- What is the difference between affirmative action and reverse discrimination?
- Should there be limits on affirmative action?
No matter the type of essay you need to write, these 150 political essay topics should give you plenty of material to work with. Remember that you can always narrow your focus to a specific country, a specific type of government, or specific law or regulation. And if you need help writing your essay, re-read the helpful tips above to ensure you get a good grade.