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How To Write A History Essay Template

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Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

Created with CAST's UDL Book Builder

5 Steps to Writing an Historical Essay


Written by Liz Cooksey

High School Social Studies Teacher


     The purpose of this guide is to walk a high school student through an easy step-by-step process of writing an historical essay.

     Writing an essay for history is not necessarily the same as it may be for an English class.

    Through the next few pages we will cover a basic overview of the process while also pointing out some "do's and don'ts" of writing an historical essay.

 

Step 1: Brainstorm

 Once you have read the question or prompt, you must determine the key points you will need to address and then brainstorm ideas that will support your points.

 



Step 2: Create a Thesis Statement

The purpose of a thesis is to summarize the key arguements of your essay into one firm statement. Strong thesis statements usually need to include about 3 points that you intend to prove through the essay.

When coming up with your thesis for a historical essay there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to include specific examples that you will later discuss in detail
  • Do not use 1st person
  • Do not write refer to "this essay"

 


Step 3: Create an Introduction Paragraph

Creating an introduction paragraph becomes more easy once the thesis has been determined. The purpose of this paragraph is only to introduce your ideas, not describe in detail or length.  

When writing your introduction there are a few ideas you need to keep in mind:

  • Open with a broad statement
  • Each sentence should get a little more specific and detailed, but not actually discussing the content of the essay.
  • The introduction paragraph should conclude with the thesis you have already constructed.

 

  Some people may prefer to write their thesis first as we have done here, or some may choose to begin writing their introduction paragraph and then figure out the thesis as they get there. Neither way is wrong!


Step 4: Write the Body

The majority of your work will appear here, in the body of the essay. This will usually be a minimum of 3 paragraphs (more or less depending on how many points included in you thesis).

Between each major idea you need to use creatively phrased transition statements that allow the flow of the essay to not be disrupted.

The key to a good body portion of your essay is to remember to only discuss 1 major idea per paragraph. Make districtions between you major ideas in order to help support your thesis.


Step 5: Conclusion

The conclusion is the easiest part of your essay. Here you should wrap up you main ideas that you have thoroughly discussed and argued throughout your body paragraphs.

Make sure not to introduce any new points here. this is simply to close out your final thoughts. You should, however, restate the ideas from  your thesis within the conclusion paragraph.

Here is a visual representation of what your essay should look like:



Several pointers for writing your essay:

 

  • DON’T use 1st person
    • No “I” “me” “we” “us"

 

  • Don’t use definitive's…
    • “never” “always”

 

  • Don’t say it unless you are SURE!!!
    • If you aren’t, then phrase is as “likely”

 

Here are a few phrases that may help you out as you begin to write:



What do you do now???

 

GET STARTED!!!

 

Follow these 5 steps and you'll be sure to impress your history teacher with your historical writing skills!

There are so many types of essays; it can be hard to know where to start. History papers aren’t just limited to history classes. These tasks can be assigned to examine any important historical event or a person. While they’re more common in history classes, you can find this type of assignment in sociology or political science course syllabus, or just get a history essay task for your scholarship.

Contents

Purpose of a History Essay

Wondering how to write a history essay? It helps to understand its purpose. This essay aims to examine influences that lead to a historical event. It can also explore the importance of an individual’s impact on history.

However, the goal isn’t to stay in the past. A well-written history essay should discuss the relevancy of the event or person to the “now”. After finishing this essay, a reader should have a fuller understanding of the lasting impact of an event or individual.

Need basic essay guidance? Find out what is an essay with this 101 essay guide: What is an Essay?

Elements for Success

Understanding how to write a history essay is crucial in creating a successful paper. These essays should never only outline successful historic events or list an individual’s achievements. Instead, they should focus on examining questions beginning with what, how, and why. Here’s a pro tip in how to write a history essay: brainstorm questions. Once you’ve got questions, you have an excellent starting point.

Preparing to Write

A typical history essay format requires the writer to provide background on the event or person, examine major influences, and discuss the importance of the forces both then and now. When preparing to write, it’s helpful to organize the information you need to research into questions. For example:

  • Who
    • Who were the major contributors to this event?
    • Who opposed or fought against this event?
    • Who gained or lost from this event?
    • Who benefits from this event today?
  • What
    • What factors led up to this event?
    • What changes occurred because of this event?
    • What lasting impacts occurred locally, nationally, globally due to this event?
    • What lessons (if any) were learned?
  • Why
    • Why did this event occur?
    • Why did certain populations support it?
    • Why did certain populations oppose it?

These questions exist as samples. Generate questions specific to your topic. Once you have a list of questions, it’s time to evaluate them.

Evaluating the Question

Seasoned writers approach to writing a history by examining the historic event or individual. The goal is to assess the impact then and now. To do so, the writer needs to evaluate the importance of the main essay guiding the paper. For example, if the essay’s topic is the rise of American prohibition, a proper question may be “How did societal factors influence the rise of American prohibition during the 1920s?”

This question is open-ended, allowing for insightful analysis, and limits the research to societal factors. Additionally, work to identify key terms in the question. In the example, key terms would be “societal factors” and “prohibition”.

Summarizing the Argument

The argument should answer the question. Use the thesis statement to clarify the argument and outline how you plan to make your case. The thesis should be sharp, clear, and multi-faceted. Consider the following tips when summarizing the case:

  • The thesis should be a single sentence
  • It should include a concise argument and a roadmap
  • It’s always okay to revise the thesis as the paper develops
  • Conduct a bit of research to ensure you have enough support for the ideas within the paper

Outlining a History Essay Plan

Once you’ve refined your argument, it’s time to outline. Many skip this step to regret it then. The outline is the map that shows where you need to arrive historically and when. Taking the time to plan, placing the strongest argument last, and identifying your sources of research is a good use of time. When you’re ready to outline, do the following:

  • Consider necessary background the reader should know in the introduction paragraph
  • Define any important terms and vocabulary
  • Determine which ideas will need the cited support
  • Identify how each idea supports the main argument
  • Brainstorm key points to review in the conclusion

Gathering Sources

History essays typically require both primary and secondarysources. Primary resources are those that were created during the historical period being analyzed. Secondary resources are those created by historians and scholars about the topic. It’s a good idea to know if the professor requires a specific number of sources, and what kind he or she prefers. Most tutors prefer primary over secondary sources.

Where to find sources? Great question! Check out bibliographies included in required class readings. Ask a campus Librarian. Peruse online journal databases; most colleges provide students with free access. When in doubt, make an appointment and ask the professor for guidance.

Writing the Essay

Now, that you have prepared your questions, ideas, and arguments; composed the outline; and gathered sources – it’s time to write your first draft. Each section of your history essay must serve its purpose. Here is what you should include in essay paragraphs.

Introduction Paragraph

Unsure of how to start a history essay? Well, like most essays, the introduction should be include an attention-getter (or hook):

  • Relevant fact or statistic
  • Rhetorical Question
  • Interesting quotation
  • Application anecdote if appropriate

After gaining the reader’s interest, introduce the topic. Next, present critical historic context. It is necessary to introduce any key individuals or events that will be discussed later in the essay. End with a strong thesis, which acts as a transition to the first argument.

Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should offer a single idea to support the argument. After writing a strong topic sentence, the topic should be supported with correctly cited research. A typical body paragraph is arranged as follows:

  • Topic sentence linking to the thesis
  • Background about the topic
  • Research quotation or paraphrase #1
  • Explanation and analysis of research
  • Research quotation or paraphrase #2
  • Explanation and analysis of research
  • Discussion
  • Transition to next paragraph

The point of body paragraphs is to build the argument. Present the weakest support first and end with the strongest—doing so leaves the reader with the best possible evidence.

Conclusion Paragraph

You’re almost there! Conclusion paragraphs should review the most important points in the paper. Prove that you’ve supported the argument proposed in the thesis. When writing a conclusion paragraph keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep it simple
  • Avoid introducing new information
  • Review major points
  • Discuss the relevancy to today

“I need someone to write my essay!” – That’s something we hear a lot. The good news is that you are in the right place to find help. HandMadeWritings is the best essay writing service on the web.

Make it Shine

An A-level essay takes planning and revision, but it’s achievable. Avoid procrastination and start early. Leave yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, outline, research and write. Follow these five tips to make your history essay shine:

  • Write a substantial introduction. It’s the first impression the professor will have of the paper.
  • State a clear thesis. A strong thesis is easier to support.
  • Incorporate evidence critically. If while researching you find opposing arguments, include them and discuss their flaws.
  • Cite all the research. Whether direct quotations or paraphrases, citing evidence is crucial to avoiding plagiarism, which can have serious academic consequences.
  • Include primary and secondary resources. While primary resources may be harder to find, the professor will expect them—this is, after all, a history essay.

History Essay Sample

Ready to tackle the history essay format? Great! Check out this history essay example from an upper-level history class. While the essay isn’t perfect, the professor points out its many strengths.

You can check a history essay example, completed by our writers. Link: Essay on Indian History and Culture

Remember: start early and revise, revise, revise. We can’t revise history, but you can revise your ideas until they’re perfect.

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