A cause and effect essay is probably one of the hardest essays to write because it can go on forever. If Chaos Theory has taught us anything, it is that an atom that is bumped in the other side of the universe can have a radical affect on your day. From making you spill your coffee to having you arrested for arson. So in reality if a person were to continue digging into the causes and effects of a certain situation, they would find branches and branches of possibilities, all of which could have influenced the final effect. Not to labor the point, but if you study the work of the famous German physicist Albert Einstein and his theory of relatively, you will see that time and space are no absolutes, making it possible (however unlikely) that the effect created the cause.
The infinite complexity of life, time and space can make this type of essay very hard. It is quite easy to get lost in a sea of unknown possibilities, but it is also easy to go the other way. It is possible to over simplify, such as how the civil war was caused because of slavery, or how 9/11 was allowed to happen because of security budget cuts. Sometimes it is easy to see a simple cause and come out with a simple effect. Were the Germans mad at the Jews? Or were they mad at Europe for forcing them to pay reparations? Was the Chinese "Great Leap Forward" a plan to kill 30 million poor people? or just a consequence of too many greedy people in one government?
So the first thing to do is to set yourself some parameters. These are what will guide you and help stop you doing too much or too little on your cause and effect essay topics. The first thing to think about is time scales. You need to pick a time period that has only a little "give" at each end. That way you will not have to dig into ancient history to find your causes, nor will you end up listing effect after effect after effect. The next thing you need to do is pick the people and conditions involved in the situation. You also need to clearly define the situation and set yourself a few boundaries.
Obviously you will have to do some research in order to figure all of this out, but when you do it would be wise to stick to it. You can reference the past, but try to keep it in general terms. For example, you may talk about the current overseas wars and mention that America has never lost a war with the Middle East. However, it would be unwise to start going into details of how they never lost each war, and how they did lose in Southeast Asia.
As you can see, there are no cause and effect topics that you could classify as easy, but you can make your life a little easier if you wish to write a cause and effect essay. You should pick a topic which has been very well covered in the media and in the history books. This will help to give your essay less loose ends.
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