Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Senior Thesis Preview 2021: Luke Johnsen

It’s that time of the year again, when the Seniors of Clapham School display an important outcome of their schooling. The defense of their Senior Thesis is a rite of passage that ushers these well deserving students into early adulthood, as they are empowered and equipped to serve Christ. 

Throughout the months of April and May we will share posts featuring the work of each of our seniors. If you are intrigued by these appetizers, be sure to join us for their presentations and defenses during the week of May 10th. More details will be shared as we approach the dates.



The Rise and Fall of Nations and Its Effects

by Luke Johnsen


Question: What is your thesis about?

My thesis is about understanding what is currently happening in the United States, by assessing America in light of the rise and fall of historical empires. My thesis rests on the basis that history repeats itself, and from this premise I discover how America might change in the future.


Question: How did you narrow down your topic?

It has been difficult to narrow down my thesis because of how much I want to talk about and research. Originally, my thesis attempted to address all the world’s geopolitical problems, however after a week of further investigation I realized that even if I could accomplish this feat, I would not be able to explain it in a twenty-minute presentation, let alone a book, let alone a whole week of presentations.


Question: What was the hardest part of writing your thesis?

The hardest part of writing my thesis was editing the small errors effectively and seeing how it contributed to the larger message.


Question: What surprised you most about the process or the findings?

I was most surprised by the surplus of historical evidence that backed up opposing views of America’s future.


Question: What resource was most helpful or made the biggest impact on your research or conclusion?

The biggest resources that I used in my thesis were Ray Dalio’s The Changing World Order, and George Friedman’s The Storm Before The Calm.


The Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail: Dalio, Ray:  9781982160272: BooksThe Storm Before the Calm: America's Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph ...











Question: How will your findings impact your life personally?

My findings have impacted how I understand social conflict. I now realize that social conflict has strong ties to economic stability. This was a profound idea that I had never encountered before, but after thinking through the thought process behind the idea, I have begun to understand that social conflict is, in its most basic form, a conflict for a better way of life, which is, more often than not, accomplished through economic means.


Question: How does your faith inform your conclusion?

My faith has specifically helped my understanding of history, and has helped me keep a positive view of the future.


Question: How are you preparing for the defense?

I am preparing for my defense by attempting to understand as many views as possible about the premises of my thesis.


Question: What advice do you have for next year’s seniors?

My biggest advice for future senior thesis writers is firstly to start early. Secondly, the best way to create a stronger thesis is to be able to understand the strongest opposing view, and to be able to argue from it.


Luke has attended Clapham School for thirteen years. Next year he will attend Wheaton College. He plans to major in business/economics.






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