College thesis writing is a haphazard, often random process (as opposed to a doctoral dissertation, which takes more care). You have a few weeks to find a topic. You settle on one based on a combination of what hasn’t been written, availability of sources, and, if you’re lucky, a passing interest in the subject. Then you need an argument. You don’t really know anything, though, so you end up overcompensating by making a stronger argument than the facts merit. If you aren’t overstating your case, you aren’t doing it right. You then have a semester to write a 50-page essay—a task that would be difficult even without the added burden of classes, extracurriculars, and the intense hepatic demands of senior spring.

Indeed, the entire thesis-writing industry seems geared toward endangering future politicians. Students are encouraged to find unexplored topics. (The greatness and sagacity of the Founders might be a politically safe subject, for example, but it’s been done.) Professors also push students to challenge historical orthodoxy. Adhering to the status quo might help at the nomination hearing. But it makes for bad thesis writing.