How to Write a History Essay?

04 August, 2020

10 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

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. This is Handmadewriting History Essay Guide - let's start!

History Essay

Purpose  of a History Essay

Wondering how to write a history essay? First of all, it helps to understand its purpose. Secondly, this essay aims to examine the influences that lead to a historical event. Thirdly, it can explore the importance of an individual’s impact on history.

However, the goal isn’t to stay in the past. Specifically, a well-written history essay should discuss the relevance 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

Indeed, understanding how to write a history essay is crucial in creating a successful paper. Notably, 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

What? Who? Why?

Evidently, 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. In addition, when preparing to write, it’s helpful to organize the information you need to research into questions. For example:

  • 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 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 did this event occur?
  • Why did certain populations support it?
  • Why did certain populations oppose it?

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

Evaluating the Question

Assess the impact

Seasoned writers approach writing history by examining the historic event or individual. Specifically, the goal is to assess the impact then and now. Accordingly, 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 since it allows 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. In other words. 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

Outlining a Plan

Once you’ve refined your argument, it’s time to outline. Notably, many skip this step to regret it then. Nonetheless, the outline is a map that shows where you need to arrive historically and when. Specifically, 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 the 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

As a rule, history essays require both primary and secondary sources . 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. Specifically, most tutors prefer primary over secondary sources.

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

Writing the Essay

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. In particular, 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 include an attention-getter (or hook):

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

Once you’ve captured the reader’s interest, introduce the topic. Similarly, present critical historic context. Namely, it is necessary to introduce any key individuals or events that will be discussed later in the essay. At last, end with a strong thesis which acts as a transition to the first argument.

Body Paragraphs

Indeed, each body paragraph should offer a single idea to support the argument. Then, after writing a strong topic sentence, the topic should be supported with correctly cited research. Consequently, a typical body paragraph is arranged as follows:

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

Equally, the point of body paragraphs is to build the argument. Hence, present the weakest support first and end with the strongest. Admittedly, doing so leaves the reader with the best possible evidence.

Conclusion Paragraph

You’re almost there! Eventually, conclusion paragraphs should review the most important points in the paper. In them, you should 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 relevance to today
Problems with writing Your History essay ? Try our Essay Writer Service!

history essay

Proofreading Your Essay

Once the draft is ready and polished, it’s time to proceed to final editing. What does this process imply? Specifically, it’s about removing impurities and making the essay look just perfect. Here’s what you need to do to improve the quality of your paper:

  • Double check the content. In the first place, it’s recommended to get rid of long sentences, correct vague words. Also, make sure that all your paragrahps contain accurate sentences with transparent meaning. 
  • Pay attention to style. To make the process of digesting your essay easier, focus on crafting a paper with readable style, the one that is known to readers. Above all, the main mission here is to facilitate the perception of your essay. So, don’t forget about style accuracy.
  • Practice reading the essay. Of course, the best practice before passing the paper is to read it out loud. Hence, this exercise will help you notice fragments that require rewriting or a complete removal.  

History Essay Example

Did you want a history essay example? Take a look at one of our history essay papers. 

Make it Shine

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

  • Write a substantial introduction. Particularly, 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 sample from an upper-level history class. While the essay isn’t perfect, the professor points out its many strengths.

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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How to Write a History Essay

Last Updated: December 27, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 241,957 times.

Writing a history essay requires you to include a lot of details and historical information within a given number of words or required pages. It's important to provide all the needed information, but also to present it in a cohesive, intelligent way. Know how to write a history essay that demonstrates your writing skills and your understanding of the material.

Preparing to Write Your Essay

Step 1 Evaluate the essay question.

  • The key words will often need to be defined at the start of your essay, and will serve as its boundaries. [2] X Research source
  • For example, if the question was "To what extent was the First World War a Total War?", the key terms are "First World War", and "Total War".
  • Do this before you begin conducting your research to ensure that your reading is closely focussed to the question and you don't waste time.

Step 2 Consider what the question is asking you.

  • Explain: provide an explanation of why something happened or didn't happen.
  • Interpret: analyse information within a larger framework to contextualise it.
  • Evaluate: present and support a value-judgement.
  • Argue: take a clear position on a debate and justify it. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Try to summarise your key argument.

  • Your thesis statement should clearly address the essay prompt and provide supporting arguments. These supporting arguments will become body paragraphs in your essay, where you’ll elaborate and provide concrete evidence. [4] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • Your argument may change or become more nuanced as your write your essay, but having a clear thesis statement which you can refer back to is very helpful.
  • For example, your summary could be something like "The First World War was a 'total war' because civilian populations were mobilized both in the battlefield and on the home front".

Step 4 Make an essay...

  • Pick out some key quotes that make your argument precisely and persuasively. [5] X Research source
  • When writing your plan, you should already be thinking about how your essay will flow, and how each point will connect together.

Doing Your Research

Step 1 Distinguish between primary and secondary sources.

  • Primary source material refers to any texts, films, pictures, or any other kind of evidence that was produced in the historical period, or by someone who participated in the events of the period, that you are writing about.
  • Secondary material is the work by historians or other writers analysing events in the past. The body of historical work on a period or event is known as the historiography.
  • It is not unusual to write a literature review or historiographical essay which does not directly draw on primary material.
  • Typically a research essay would need significant primary material.

Step 2 Find your sources.

  • Start with the core texts in your reading list or course bibliography. Your teacher will have carefully selected these so you should start there.
  • Look in footnotes and bibliographies. When you are reading be sure to pay attention to the footnotes and bibliographies which can guide you to further sources a give you a clear picture of the important texts.
  • Use the library. If you have access to a library at your school or college, be sure to make the most of it. Search online catalogues and speak to librarians.
  • Access online journal databases. If you are in college it is likely that you will have access to academic journals online. These are an excellent and easy to navigate resources.
  • Use online sources with discretion. Try using free scholarly databases, like Google Scholar, which offer quality academic sources, but avoid using the non-trustworthy websites that come up when you simply search your topic online.
  • Avoid using crowd-sourced sites like Wikipedia as sources. However, you can look at the sources cited on a Wikipedia page and use them instead, if they seem credible.

Step 3 Evaluate your secondary sources.

  • Who is the author? Is it written by an academic with a position at a University? Search for the author online.
  • Who is the publisher? Is the book published by an established academic press? Look in the cover to check the publisher, if it is published by a University Press that is a good sign.
  • If it's an article, where is published? If you are using an article check that it has been published in an academic journal. [8] X Research source
  • If the article is online, what is the URL? Government sources with .gov addresses are good sources, as are .edu sites.

Step 4 Read critically.

  • Ask yourself why the author is making this argument. Evaluate the text by placing it into a broader intellectual context. Is it part of a certain tradition in historiography? Is it a response to a particular idea?
  • Consider where there are weaknesses and limitations to the argument. Always keep a critical mindset and try to identify areas where you think the argument is overly stretched or the evidence doesn't match the author's claims. [9] X Research source

Step 5 Take thorough notes.

  • Label all your notes with the page numbers and precise bibliographic information on the source.
  • If you have a quote but can't remember where you found it, imagine trying to skip back through everything you have read to find that one line.
  • If you use something and don't reference it fully you risk plagiarism. [10] X Research source

Writing the Introduction

Step 1 Start with a strong first sentence.

  • For example you could start by saying "In the First World War new technologies and the mass mobilization of populations meant that the war was not fought solely by standing armies".
  • This first sentences introduces the topic of your essay in a broad way which you can start focus to in on more.

Step 2 Outline what you are going to argue.

  • This will lead to an outline of the structure of your essay and your argument.
  • Here you will explain the particular approach you have taken to the essay.
  • For example, if you are using case studies you should explain this and give a brief overview of which case studies you will be using and why.

Step 3 Provide some brief context for your work.

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Have a clear structure.

  • Try to include a sentence that concludes each paragraph and links it to the next paragraph.
  • When you are organising your essay think of each paragraph as addressing one element of the essay question.
  • Keeping a close focus like this will also help you avoid drifting away from the topic of the essay and will encourage you to write in precise and concise prose.
  • Don't forget to write in the past tense when referring to something that has already happened.

Step 3 Use source material as evidence to back up your thesis.

  • Don't drop a quote from a primary source into your prose without introducing it and discussing it, and try to avoid long quotations. Use only the quotes that best illustrate your point.
  • If you are referring to a secondary source, you can usually summarise in your own words rather than quoting directly.
  • Be sure to fully cite anything you refer to, including if you do not quote it directly.

Step 4 Make your essay flow.

  • Think about the first and last sentence in every paragraph and how they connect to the previous and next paragraph.
  • Try to avoid beginning paragraphs with simple phrases that make your essay appear more like a list. For example, limit your use of words like: "Additionally", "Moreover", "Furthermore".
  • Give an indication of where your essay is going and how you are building on what you have already said. [15] X Research source

Step 5 Conclude succinctly.

  • Briefly outline the implications of your argument and it's significance in relation to the historiography, but avoid grand sweeping statements. [16] X Research source
  • A conclusion also provides the opportunity to point to areas beyond the scope of your essay where the research could be developed in the future.

Proofreading and Evaluating Your Essay

Step 1 Proofread your essay.

  • Try to cut down any overly long sentences or run-on sentences. Instead, try to write clear and accurate prose and avoid unnecessary words.
  • Concentrate on developing a clear, simple and highly readable prose style first before you think about developing your writing further. [17] X Research source
  • Reading your essay out load can help you get a clearer picture of awkward phrasing and overly long sentences. [18] X Research source

Step 2 Analyse don't describe.

  • When you read through your essay look at each paragraph and ask yourself, "what point this paragraph is making".
  • You might have produced a nice piece of narrative writing, but if you are not directly answering the question it is not going to help your grade.

Step 3 Check your references and bibliography.

  • A bibliography will typically have primary sources first, followed by secondary sources. [19] X Research source
  • Double and triple check that you have included all the necessary references in the text. If you forgot to include a reference you risk being reported for plagiarism.

Sample Essay

essay example history

Community Q&A

Community Answer

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Write an Essay

  • ↑ http://www.historytoday.com/robert-pearce/how-write-good-history-essay
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/writing-a-good-history-paper
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
  • ↑ http://history.rutgers.edu/component/content/article?id=106:writing-historical-essays-a-guide-for-undergraduates
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.uw.edu/c.php?g=344285&p=2580599
  • ↑ http://www.hamilton.edu/documents/writing-center/WritingGoodHistoryPaper.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.bowdoin.edu/writing-guides/
  • ↑ https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/hppi/publications/Writing-History-Essays.pdf

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

To write a history essay, read the essay question carefully and use source materials to research the topic, taking thorough notes as you go. Next, formulate a thesis statement that summarizes your key argument in 1-2 concise sentences and create a structured outline to help you stay on topic. Open with a strong introduction that introduces your thesis, present your argument, and back it up with sourced material. Then, end with a succinct conclusion that restates and summarizes your position! For more tips on creating a thesis statement, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Tips from my first year - essay writing

This is the third of a three part series giving advice on the essay writing process, focusing in this case on essay writing.

Daniel is a first year BA History and Politics student at Magdalen College . He is a disabled student and the first in his immediate family to go to university. Daniel is also a Trustee of Potential Plus UK , a Founding Ambassador and Expert Panel Member for Zero Gravity , and a History Faculty Ambassador. Before coming to university, Daniel studied at a non-selective state school, and was a participant on the UNIQ , Sutton Trust , and Social Mobility Foundation APP Reach programmes, as well as being part of the inaugural Opportunity Oxford cohort. Daniel is passionate about outreach and social mobility and ensuring all students have the best opportunity to succeed.

dd profile

History and its related disciplines mainly rely on essay writing with most term-time work centring on this, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. The blessing of the Oxford system though is you get plenty of opportunity to practice, and your tutors usually provide lots of feedback (both through comments on essays and in tutorials) to help you improve. Here are my tips from my first year as an Oxford Undergraduate:

  • Plan for success – a good plan really sets your essay in a positive direction, so try to collect your thoughts if you can. I find a great way to start my planning process is to go outside for a walk as it helps to clear my head of the detail, it allows me to focus on the key themes, and it allows me to explore ideas without having to commit anything to paper. Do keep in mind your question throughout the reading and notetaking process, though equally look to the wider themes covered so that when you get to planning you are in the right frame of mind.
  • Use what works for you – if you try to use a method you aren’t happy with, it won’t work. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment; to the contrary I highly encourage it as it can be good to change up methods and see what really helps you deliver a strong essay. However, don’t feel pressured into using one set method, as long as it is time-efficient and it gets you ready for the next stage of the essay process it is fine!
  • Focus on the general ideas – summarise in a sentence what each author argues, see what links there are between authors and subject areas, and possibly group your ideas into core themes or paragraph headers. Choose the single piece of evidence you believe supports each point best.
  • Make something revision-ready – try to make something which you can come back to in a few months’ time which makes sense and will really get your head back to when you were preparing for your essay.
  • Consider what is most important – no doubt if you spoke about everything covered on the reading list you would have far more words than the average essay word count (which is usually advised around 1,500-2,000 words - it does depend on your tutor.) You have a limited amount of time, focus, and words, so choose what stands out to you as the most important issues for discussion. Focus on the important issues well rather than covering several points in a less-focused manner.
  • Make it your voice – your tutors want to hear from you about what you think and what your argument is, not lots of quotes of what others have said. Therefore, when planning and writing consider what your opinion is and make sure to state it. Use authors to support your viewpoint, or to challenge it, but make sure you are doing the talking and driving the analysis. At the same time, avoid slang, and ensure the language you use is easy to digest.
  • Make sure you can understand it - don’t feel you have to use big fancy words you don’t understand unless they happen to be relevant subject-specific terminology, and don’t swallow the Thesaurus. If you use a technical term, make sure to provide a definition. You most probably won’t have time to go into it fully, but if it is an important concept hint at the wider historical debate. State where you stand and why briefly you believe what you are stating before focusing on your main points. You need to treat the reader as both an alien from another planet, and a very intelligent person at the same time – make sure your sentences make sense, but equally make sure to pitch it right. As you can possibly tell, it is a fine balancing act so my advice is to read through your essay and ask yourself ‘why’ about every statement or argument you make. If you haven’t answered why, you likely require a little more explanation. Simple writing doesn’t mean a boring or basic argument, it just means every point you make lands and has impact on the reader, supporting them every step of the way.
  • Keep introductions and conclusions short – there is no need for massive amounts of setting the scene in the introduction, or an exact repeat of every single thing you have said in the essay appearing in the conclusion. Instead, in the first sentence of your introduction provide a direct answer to the question. If the question is suitable, it is perfectly fine to say yes, no, or it is a little more complicated. Whatever the answer is, it should be simple enough to fit in one reasonable length sentence. The next three sentences should state what each of your three main body paragraphs are going to argue, and then dive straight into it. With your conclusion, pick up what you said about the key points. Suggest how they possibly link, maybe do some comparison between factors and see if you can leave us with a lasting thought which links to the question in your final sentence.
  • Say what you are going to say, say it, say it again – this is a general essay structure; an introduction which clearly states your argument; a main body which explains why you believe that argument; and a conclusion which summarises the key points to be drawn from your essay. Keep your messaging clear as it is so important the reader can grasp everything you are trying to say to have maximum impact. This applies in paragraphs as well – each paragraph should in one sentence outline what is to be said, it should then be said, and in the final sentence summarise what you have just argued. Somebody should be able to quickly glance over your essay using the first and last sentences and be able to put together the core points.
  • Make sure your main body paragraphs are focused – if you have come across PEE (Point, Evidence, Explain – in my case the acronym I could not avoid at secondary school!) before, then nothing has changed. Make your point in around a sentence, clearly stating your argument. Then use the best single piece of evidence available to support your point, trying to keep that to a sentence or two if you can. The vast majority of your words should be explaining why this is important, and how it supports your argument, or how it links to something else. You don’t need to ‘stack’ examples where you provide multiple instances of the same thing – if you have used one piece of evidence that is enough, you can move on and make a new point. Try to keep everything as short as possible while communicating your core messages, directly responding to the question. You also don’t need to cover every article or book you read, rather pick out the most convincing examples.
  • It works, it doesn’t work, it is a little more complicated – this is a structure I developed for writing main body paragraphs, though it is worth noting it may not work for every question. It works; start your paragraph with a piece of evidence that supports your argument fully. It doesn’t work; see if there is an example which seems to contradict your argument, but suggest why you still believe your argument is correct. Then, and only if you can, see if there is an example which possibly doesn’t quite work fully with your argument, and suggest why possibly your argument cannot wholly explain this point or why your argument is incomplete but still has the most explanatory power. See each paragraph as a mini-debate, and ensure different viewpoints have an opportunity to be heard.
  • Take your opponents at their best – essays are a form of rational dialogue, interacting with writing on this topic from the past, so if you are going to ‘win’ (or more likely just make a convincing argument as you don’t need to demolish all opposition in sight) then you need to treat your opponents fairly by choosing challenging examples, and by fairly characterising their arguments. It should not be a slinging match of personal insults or using incredibly weak examples, as this will undermine your argument. While I have never attacked historians personally (though you may find in a few readings they do attack each other!), I have sometimes chosen the easier arguments to try to tackle, and it is definitely better to try to include some arguments which are themselves convincing and contradictory to your view.
  • Don’t stress about referencing – yes referencing is important, but it shouldn’t take too long. Unless your tutor specifies a method, choose a method which you find simple to use as well as being an efficient method. For example, when referencing books I usually only include the author, book title, and year of publication – the test I always use for referencing is to ask myself if I have enough information to buy the book from a retailer. While this wouldn’t suffice if you were writing for a journal, you aren’t writing for a journal so focus on your argument instead and ensure you are really developing your writing skills.
  • Don’t be afraid of the first person – in my Sixth Form I was told not to use ‘I’ as it weakened my argument, however that isn’t the advice I have received at Oxford; in fact I have been encouraged to use it as it forces me to take a side. So if you struggle with making your argument clear, use phrases like ‘I believe’ and ‘I argue’.

I hope this will help as a toolkit to get you started, but my last piece of advice is don’t worry! As you get so much practice at Oxford you get plenty of opportunity to perfect your essay writing skills, so don’t think you need to be amazing at everything straight away. Take your first term to try new methods out and see what works for you – don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Good luck!

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How to Write a Good History Essay. A Sequence of Actions and Useful Tips

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Before you start writing your history essay, there is quite a lot of work that has to be done in order to gain success.

You may ask: what is history essay? What is the difference between it and other kinds of essays? Well, the main goal of a history essay is to measure your progress in learning history and test your range of skills (such as analysis, logic, planning, research, and writing), it is necessary to prepare yourself very well.

Your plan of action may look like this. First of all, you will have to explore the topic. If you are going to write about a certain historical event, think of its causes and premises, and analyze what its impact on history was. In case you are writing about a person, find out why and how he or she came to power and how they influenced society and historical situations.

The next step is to make research and collect all the available information about the person or event, and also find evidence.

Finally, you will have to compose a well-organized response.

During the research, make notes and excerpts of the most notable data, write out the important dates and personalities. And of course, write down all your thoughts and findings.

It all may seem complicated at first sight, but in fact, it is not so scary! To complete this task successfully and compose a good history essay, simply follow several easy steps provided below.

Detailed Writing Instruction for Students to Follow

If you want to successfully complete your essay, it would be better to organize the writing process. You will complete the assignment faster and more efficient if you divide the whole work into several sections or steps.

  • Introduction

Writing a good and strong introduction part is important because this is the first thing your reader will see. It gives the first impression of your essay and induces people to reading (or not reading) it.

To make the introduction catchy and interesting, express the contention and address the main question of the essay. Be confident and clear as this is the moment when you define the direction your whole essay will take. And remember that introduction is not the right place for rambling! The best of all is, to begin with, a brief context summary, then go to addressing the question and express the content. Finally, mark the direction your essay about history will take.

Its quality depends on how clear you divided the whole essay into sections in the previous part. As long as you have provided a readable and understandable scheme, your readers will know exactly what to expect.

The body of your essay must give a clear vision of what question you are considering. In this section, you can develop your idea and support it with the evidence you have found. Use certain facts and quotations for that. When being judicial and analytical, they will help you to easily support your point of view and argument.

As long as your essay has a limited size, don’t be too precise. It is allowed to summarize the most essential background information, for example, instead of giving a precise list of all the issues that matter.

It is also good to keep in mind that each paragraph of your essay’s body must tell about only one issue. Don’t make a mess out of your paper!

It is not only essential to start your essay well. How you will end it also matters. A properly-written conclusion is the one that restates the whole paper’s content and gives a logical completion of the issue or question discussed above. Your conclusion must leave to chance for further discussion or arguments on the case. It’s time, to sum up, give a verdict.

That is why it is strongly forbidden to provide any new evidence or information here, as well as start a new discussion, etc.

After you finish writing, give yourself some time and put the paper away for a while. When you turn back to it will be easier to take a fresh look at it and find any mistakes or things to improve. Of course, remember to proofread your writing and check it for any grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. All these tips will help you to learn how to write a history essay.

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Video transcript

essay example history

  • Written Essays

How to write source-based history essays

Carcassone

The biggest assessment task you will be required to complete is a written research essay which develops an argument and uses a range of sources.

All types of assessment tasks will need you to use essay-writing skills in some form, but their fundamental structure and purpose remains the same.

Therefore, learning how to write essays well is central to achieving high marks in History.

What is an 'essay'?

A History essay is a structured argument that provides historical evidence to substantiate its points. 

To achieve the correct structure for your argument, it is crucial to understand the separate parts that make up a written essay. 

If you understand how each part works and fits into the overall essay, you are well on the way to creating a great assessment piece.

Most essays will require you to write:

  • 1 Introduction Paragraph
  • 3 Body Paragraphs
  • 1 Concluding Paragraph

Explanations for how to structure and write each of these paragraphs can be found below, along with examples of each: 

Essay paragraph writing advice

essay example history

How to write an Introductory Paragraph

This page explains the purpose of an introduction, how to structure one and provides examples for you to read.

essay example history

How to write Body Paragraphs

This page explains the purpose of body paragraphs, how to structure them and provides examples for you to read.

essay example history

How to write a Conclusion

This page explains the purpose of conclusions, how to structure them and provides examples for you to read.

More essay resources

What do you need help with, download ready-to-use digital learning resources.

essay example history

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How to Write a History Essay with Outline, Tips, Examples and More

History Essay

Before we get into how to write a history essay, let's first understand what makes one good. Different people might have different ideas, but there are some basic rules that can help you do well in your studies. In this guide, we won't get into any fancy theories. Instead, we'll give you straightforward tips to help you with historical writing. So, if you're ready to sharpen your writing skills, let our history essay writing service explore how to craft an exceptional paper.

What is a History Essay?

A history essay is an academic assignment where we explore and analyze historical events from the past. We dig into historical stories, figures, and ideas to understand their importance and how they've shaped our world today. History essay writing involves researching, thinking critically, and presenting arguments based on evidence.

Moreover, history papers foster the development of writing proficiency and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. They also encourage students to engage with primary and secondary sources, enhancing their research skills and deepening their understanding of historical methodology.

History Essay Outline

History Essay Outline

The outline is there to guide you in organizing your thoughts and arguments in your essay about history. With a clear outline, you can explore and explain historical events better. Here's how to make one:

Introduction

  • Hook: Start with an attention-grabbing opening sentence or anecdote related to your topic.
  • Background Information: Provide context on the historical period, event, or theme you'll be discussing.
  • Thesis Statement: Present your main argument or viewpoint, outlining the scope and purpose of your history essay.

Body paragraph 1: Introduction to the Historical Context

  • Provide background information on the historical context of your topic.
  • Highlight key events, figures, or developments leading up to the main focus of your history essay.

Body paragraphs 2-4 (or more): Main Arguments and Supporting Evidence

  • Each paragraph should focus on a specific argument or aspect of your thesis.
  • Present evidence from primary and secondary sources to support each argument.
  • Analyze the significance of the evidence and its relevance to your history paper thesis.

Counterarguments (optional)

  • Address potential counterarguments or alternative perspectives on your topic.
  • Refute opposing viewpoints with evidence and logical reasoning.
  • Summary of Main Points: Recap the main arguments presented in the body paragraphs.
  • Restate Thesis: Reinforce your thesis statement, emphasizing its significance in light of the evidence presented.
  • Reflection: Reflect on the broader implications of your arguments for understanding history.
  • Closing Thought: End your history paper with a thought-provoking statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

References/bibliography

  • List all sources used in your research, formatted according to the citation style required by your instructor (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).
  • Include both primary and secondary sources, arranged alphabetically by the author's last name.

Notes (if applicable)

  • Include footnotes or endnotes to provide additional explanations, citations, or commentary on specific points within your history essay.

History Essay Format

Adhering to a specific format is crucial for clarity, coherence, and academic integrity. Here are the key components of a typical history essay format:

Font and Size

  • Use a legible font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri.
  • The recommended font size is usually 12 points. However, check your instructor's guidelines, as they may specify a different size.
  • Set 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Double-space the entire essay, including the title, headings, body paragraphs, and references.
  • Avoid extra spacing between paragraphs unless specified otherwise.
  • Align text to the left margin; avoid justifying the text or using a centered alignment.

Title Page (if required):

  • If your instructor requires a title page, include the essay title, your name, the course title, the instructor's name, and the date.
  • Center-align this information vertically and horizontally on the page.
  • Include a header on each page (excluding the title page if applicable) with your last name and the page number, flush right.
  • Some instructors may require a shortened title in the header, usually in all capital letters.
  • Center-align the essay title at the top of the first page (if a title page is not required).
  • Use standard capitalization (capitalize the first letter of each major word).
  • Avoid underlining, italicizing, or bolding the title unless necessary for emphasis.

Paragraph Indentation:

  • Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches or use the tab key.
  • Do not insert extra spaces between paragraphs unless instructed otherwise.

Citations and References:

  • Follow the citation style specified by your instructor (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).
  • Include in-text citations whenever you use information or ideas from external sources.
  • Provide a bibliography or list of references at the end of your history essay, formatted according to the citation style guidelines.
  • Typically, history essays range from 1000 to 2500 words, but this can vary depending on the assignment.

essay example history

How to Write a History Essay?

Historical writing can be an exciting journey through time, but it requires careful planning and organization. In this section, we'll break down the process into simple steps to help you craft a compelling and well-structured history paper.

Analyze the Question

Before diving headfirst into writing, take a moment to dissect the essay question. Read it carefully, and then read it again. You want to get to the core of what it's asking. Look out for keywords that indicate what aspects of the topic you need to focus on. If you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to ask your instructor for clarification. Remember, understanding how to start a history essay is half the battle won!

Now, let's break this step down:

  • Read the question carefully and identify keywords or phrases.
  • Consider what the question is asking you to do – are you being asked to analyze, compare, contrast, or evaluate?
  • Pay attention to any specific instructions or requirements provided in the question.
  • Take note of the time period or historical events mentioned in the question – this will give you a clue about the scope of your history essay.

Develop a Strategy

With a clear understanding of the essay question, it's time to map out your approach. Here's how to develop your historical writing strategy:

  • Brainstorm ideas : Take a moment to jot down any initial thoughts or ideas that come to mind in response to the history paper question. This can help you generate a list of potential arguments, themes, or points you want to explore in your history essay.
  • Create an outline : Once you have a list of ideas, organize them into a logical structure. Start with a clear introduction that introduces your topic and presents your thesis statement – the main argument or point you'll be making in your history essay. Then, outline the key points or arguments you'll be discussing in each paragraph of the body, making sure they relate back to your thesis. Finally, plan a conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces your history paper thesis.
  • Research : Before diving into writing, gather evidence to support your arguments. Use reputable sources such as books, academic journals, and primary documents to gather historical evidence and examples. Take notes as you research, making sure to record the source of each piece of information for proper citation later on.
  • Consider counterarguments : Anticipate potential counterarguments to your history paper thesis and think about how you'll address them in your essay. Acknowledging opposing viewpoints and refuting them strengthens your argument and demonstrates critical thinking.
  • Set realistic goals : Be realistic about the scope of your history essay and the time you have available to complete it. Break down your writing process into manageable tasks, such as researching, drafting, and revising, and set deadlines for each stage to stay on track.

How to Write a History Essay

Start Your Research

Now that you've grasped the history essay topic and outlined your approach, it's time to dive into research. Here's how to start:

  • Ask questions : What do you need to know? What are the key points to explore further? Write down your inquiries to guide your research.
  • Explore diverse sources : Look beyond textbooks. Check academic journals, reliable websites, and primary sources like documents or artifacts.
  • Consider perspectives : Think about different viewpoints on your topic. How have historians analyzed it? Are there controversies or differing interpretations?
  • Take organized notes : Summarize key points, jot down quotes, and record your thoughts and questions. Stay organized using spreadsheets or note-taking apps.
  • Evaluate sources : Consider the credibility and bias of each source. Are they peer-reviewed? Do they represent a particular viewpoint?

Establish a Viewpoint

By establishing a clear viewpoint and supporting arguments, you'll lay the foundation for your compelling historical writing:

  • Review your research : Reflect on the information gathered. What patterns or themes emerge? Which perspectives resonate with you?
  • Formulate a thesis statement : Based on your research, develop a clear and concise thesis that states your argument or interpretation of the topic.
  • Consider counterarguments : Anticipate objections to your history paper thesis. Are there alternative viewpoints or evidence that you need to address?
  • Craft supporting arguments : Outline the main points that support your thesis. Use evidence from your research to strengthen your arguments.
  • Stay flexible : Be open to adjusting your viewpoint as you continue writing and researching. New information may challenge or refine your initial ideas.

Structure Your Essay

Now that you've delved into the depths of researching historical events and established your viewpoint, it's time to craft the skeleton of your essay: its structure. Think of your history essay outline as constructing a sturdy bridge between your ideas and your reader's understanding. How will you lead them from point A to point Z? Will you follow a chronological path through history or perhaps dissect themes that span across time periods?

And don't forget about the importance of your introduction and conclusion—are they framing your narrative effectively, enticing your audience to read your paper, and leaving them with lingering thoughts long after they've turned the final page? So, as you lay the bricks of your history essay's architecture, ask yourself: How can I best lead my audience through the maze of time and thought, leaving them enlightened and enriched on the other side?

Create an Engaging Introduction

Creating an engaging introduction is crucial for capturing your reader's interest right from the start. But how do you do it? Think about what makes your topic fascinating. Is there a surprising fact or a compelling story you can share? Maybe you could ask a thought-provoking question that gets people thinking. Consider why your topic matters—what lessons can we learn from history?

Also, remember to explain what your history essay will be about and why it's worth reading. What will grab your reader's attention and make them want to learn more? How can you make your essay relevant and intriguing right from the beginning?

Develop Coherent Paragraphs

Once you've established your introduction, the next step is to develop coherent paragraphs that effectively communicate your ideas. Each paragraph should focus on one main point or argument, supported by evidence or examples from your research. Start by introducing the main idea in a topic sentence, then provide supporting details or evidence to reinforce your point.

Make sure to use transition words and phrases to guide your reader smoothly from one idea to the next, creating a logical flow throughout your history essay. Additionally, consider the organization of your paragraphs—is there a clear progression of ideas that builds upon each other? Are your paragraphs unified around a central theme or argument?

Conclude Effectively

Concluding your history essay effectively is just as important as starting it off strong. In your conclusion, you want to wrap up your main points while leaving a lasting impression on your reader. Begin by summarizing the key points you've made throughout your history essay, reminding your reader of the main arguments and insights you've presented.

Then, consider the broader significance of your topic—what implications does it have for our understanding of history or for the world today? You might also want to reflect on any unanswered questions or areas for further exploration. Finally, end with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action that encourages your reader to continue thinking about the topic long after they've finished reading.

Reference Your Sources

Referencing your sources is essential for maintaining the integrity of your history essay and giving credit to the scholars and researchers who have contributed to your understanding of the topic. Depending on the citation style required (such as MLA, APA, or Chicago), you'll need to format your references accordingly. Start by compiling a list of all the sources you've consulted, including books, articles, websites, and any other materials used in your research.

Then, as you write your history essay, make sure to properly cite each source whenever you use information or ideas that are not your own. This includes direct quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. Remember to include all necessary information for each source, such as author names, publication dates, and page numbers, as required by your chosen citation style.

Review and Ask for Advice

As you near the completion of your history essay writing, it's crucial to take a step back and review your work with a critical eye. Reflect on the clarity and coherence of your arguments—are they logically organized and effectively supported by evidence? Consider the strength of your introduction and conclusion—do they effectively capture the reader's attention and leave a lasting impression? Take the time to carefully proofread your history essay for any grammatical errors or typos that may detract from your overall message.

Furthermore, seeking advice from peers, mentors, or instructors can provide valuable insights and help identify areas for improvement. Consider sharing your essay with someone whose feedback you trust and respect, and be open to constructive criticism. Ask specific questions about areas you're unsure about or where you feel your history essay may be lacking.

History Essay Example

In this section, we offer an example of a history essay examining the impact of the Industrial Revolution on society. This essay demonstrates how historical analysis and critical thinking are applied in academic writing. By exploring this specific event, you can observe how historical evidence is used to build a cohesive argument and draw meaningful conclusions.

essay example history

FAQs about History Essay Writing

How to write a history essay introduction, how to write a conclusion for a history essay, how to write a good history essay.

essay example history

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History Essay Examples

Cathy A.

Top History Essay Examples To Get Inspired By

Published on: May 4, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

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History essays are a crucial component of many academic programs, helping students to develop their critical thinking, research, and writing skills. 

However, writing a great history essay is not always easy, especially when you are struggling to find the right approach. This is where history essay examples come in handy. 

By reading and examining samples of successful history essays, you can gain inspiration, learn new ways to approach your topic. Moreover, you can develop a better understanding of what makes a great history essay.

In this blog, you will find a range of history essay examples that showcase the best practices in history essay writing. 

Read on to find useful examples.

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Sample History Essays

Explore our collection of excellent history paper examples about various topics. Download the pdf examples for free and read to get inspiration for your own essay.

History Essay Samples for Middle School

The Impact of Ancient Civilizations on Modern Society

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution

History Writing Samples for High School Students

The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Society

Grade 10 History Essay Example: World War 1 Causes and Effects

Grade 12 History Essay Example: The Impact of Technology on World War II

Ancient History Essay Examples

The Societal and Political Structures of the Maya Civilization

The Role of Phoenicians in the Development of Ancient Mediterranean World

The Contributions of the Indus Civilization

Medieval History Essay Examples

The Crusades Motivations and Consequences

The Beginning of Islamic Golden Age

The Black Death

Modern History Essay Examples

The Suez Crisis and the End of British Dominance

The Rise of China as an Economic Powerhouse

World History Essay Examples

The Role of the Silk Road in Shaping Global Trade and Culture

The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

The Legacy of Ancient Greek Philosophy and Thought

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American History Essay Examples

The Civil Rights Movement and its Impact on American Society

The American Civil War and its Aftermath

The Role of Women in American Society Throughout History

African History Essay Examples

The Impact of Colonialism on African Societies

The Rise and Fall of the Mali Empire

European History Essay Examples

The Protestant Reformation and the Rise of Protestantism in Europe

The French Revolution and its Impact on European Politics and Society

The Cold War and the Division of Europe

Argumentative History Essay Examples

Was the US Civil War Primarily About Slavery or States

The Effects of British Colonization on Colonies

Art History Essay Examples 

The Influence of Greek and Roman Art on Neoclassicism

The Depiction of Women in Art Throughout History

The Role of Art in the Propaganda of Fascist Regimes

How to Use History Essay Examples

History essay examples are a valuable tool for students looking for inspiration and guidance on how to approach their own essays. 

By analyzing successful essays, you can learn effective writing techniques that can be expected in a high-quality history essay. 

Here are some tips that will help you take full advantage of the samples above.

Tips for Effectively Using History Essay Examples

  • Analyze the Structure:

Pay close attention to how the essay is organized, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Look for how the author transitions between paragraphs and the use of evidence to support their argument.

  • Study the Thesis Statement:

The thesis statement is the backbone of any successful history essay. Analyze how the author crafted their thesis statement, and consider how you can apply this to your own writing.

  • Take Note of the Evidence: 

Effective history essays rely on using strong evidence to support their arguments. Take note of the sources and types of evidence used in the essay. Consider how you can apply similar evidence to support your own arguments.

  • Pay Attention to the Formatting and Other Academic Formalities:

The sample essays also demonstrate how you can incorporate academic formalities and standards while keeping the essay engaging. See how these essays fulfill academic standards and try to follow them in your own writing.

  • Practice Writing:

While analyzing history essay examples can be helpful, it is important to also practice writing your own essays. Use the examples as inspiration, but try to craft your own unique approach to your topic. 

History essays are an essential aspect of learning and understanding the past. By using history essay examples, students can gain inspiration on how to develop their history essays effectively. 

Furthermore, following the tips outlined in this blog, students can effectively analyze these essay samples and learn from them. 

However, writing a history essay can still be challenging. 

Looking for an online essay writing service that specializes in history essays? Look no further!

Our history essay writing service is your go-to source for well-researched and expertly crafted papers.

And for an extra edge in your academic journey, explore our AI essay writing tool . Make history with your grades by choosing our online essay writing service and harnessing the potential of our AI essay writing tool.

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19+ History Essay Writing Examples – PDF

History Essay Writing Examples

In order to even begin writing an essay , one must first understand on what an essay is and what exactly comprises it. An essay is also a short piece of writing on a particular subject.

  • 32+ Free Writing Examples
  • 21+ Essay Writing Examples

Just like speeches, essays are normally written by students that serve as their assignments. But unlike general reports , essays allow you to insert your own opinion and explain your justification as to why you think that way. There are many types of essays that students will be asked to write: persuasive, historical, reference, or process essays. Here are some tips as to how to properly write your essay if you need any help whatsoever:

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Preparing to Write Your Essay

1. evaluate the essay question..

Before anything else, it is important that you first understand the question. There is the tendency that you may not even be answering the question in the first place.

One of the first things you might notice about the question is that there will be certain key words that should serve as your boundaries for research. If there are certain terms found in the question that you are unsure of, you can always try to look it up online. If you need assistance in identifying the parts of an essay , you may try to look it up by clicking on the hyperlink.

  • For example, if the question was “To what extent was the First World War a Total War?” the key terms are “First World War” and “Total War.”

2. Consider what the question is asking you.

As mentioned before, you have to first understand the question that is being asked of you before you can even give your response to it whatsoever. With this in mind, you have to understand that there are different responses depending on the instructions that you are asked to follow. Here are some of the things that a historical essay might ask you to do. If you need check out on how essays are written, you may find out more on free essays . It might just provide you the insight you would need in creating one.

  • Explain: provide an explanation of why something happened or didn’t happen. An example of an amazing topic would be on how Martin Luther King Jr. was able to spark a cultural revolution in the eyes of the public and with all of America watching. You may also see what is writing used for ?
  • Interpret: analyze information within a larger framework to contextualize it. One topic example that would require interpretation would be on World War II to provide a historical timeline of World War II and who were the parties that were affected by it. You may also like writing examples in PDF .
  • Evaluate: present and support a value-judgment. A sample topic for an essay like this would be to present the works of the Trump Administration and as to how it contributed to society’s common good and welfare.
  • Argue: take a clear position on a debate and justify it. Normally, the best platform to argue would be in the form of a debate. Argumentative essays are normally posed with an affirmative or negative kind of setting. In light of the recent school shooting events that have transpired all across the U.S., a good essay topic would be, “Should the gun carrying general policy increase its age limit or not?”

3. Try to summarize your key argument.

Before even considering in drafting a key argument, you must first conduct some research of your own. After you have finished researching, you can now formulate your thesis statement  that focuses your ideas into one or two sentences. It should present the topic of your paper and must also present your stance in relation to the essay topic.

Thesis statements tell your reader on what the paper is about and can also help guide your writing and keep your argument in point to whatever stance you have decided. Think of it like the main point of your essay, your key arguments should be clear enough that you can structure the essay plan around it. If you need tips on how to draft up an excellent essay , click the hyperlink to find out more.

4. Make an essay plan.

Now that you have successfully followed steps 1 to 3, you can now draft up a plan on how your essay might look like. Compile your research and your notes and develop the structure and the flow of the said essay from there. In the process of doing so, you can actually assess the quality and depth of the evidence you have collected and determine whether your simple thesis statement is adequately supported or not.

In drafting the essay plan, you may want to add some key quotes from notable sources that would actually make the argument more precise and persuasive. When thinking on how your essay will flow, you should also consider on how each point made into the essay will transition and connect with one another. If you need assistance in drafting up a self-introductory essay , you may click on the hyperlink for more information.

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Doing Your Research

1. distinguish between primary and secondary sources..

And since you are writing a history essay, you are expected to include various source materials from different historians who have analyzed and talked about the said events or people who actually witnessed and participated in the said event first hand. You may also see formal writing examples .

The former is called a secondary source while the latter is called a primary source. The most important thing to do in research would be to expend every resource available in order to make your essay more substantial.

Incomplete research is just the same as presenting a haphazardly-done assignment in Math wherein the student ends up guessing every item on the list. Whatever reference you end up obtaining, make sure that you carefully determine what kind of source you are going to be reading. You may also try to write a reflective essay  if ever the need arises.

2. Find your sources.

In this age of technological advancement, finding good and credible sources seem to be lacking and incredibly scarce these days. With the rise of fake news and misleading sources and lies and whatnot, how could you filter what is true and what is fake and what could be very good material for your essay? You may also like what do you mean by writing skills ?

Rule number 1 in doing research is to never refer to the Internet directly. It may be the easiest way to find out what you need, but it is not always the most effective method unless you happen to come across some legitimate sources or electronic books or documents in which you can get them for free. Sometimes, the best way is to just go old school and refer to books, magazines, newspaper articles, and others. You may also check out summary writing examples .

As mentioned before, there are many different kinds of essays that you would be asked to make in which one of them includes an analytical essay .

  • One tip when doing research in the library or on the Internet would be to look at footnotes and bibliographies as they can guide you to further sources that give you a clearer picture of the important texts.

3. Evaluate your secondary sources.

As aforementioned, good and credible sources these days are hard to come by as you can never really know what information is fake and what information is real.

The bad thing is that primary sources these days are extremely hard to come by. Unless your essay happens to be an autobiography based on the events told by that person, primary sources are extremely hard to locate. Which is why you will just have to put your trust on secondary sources and figure out what sources are considered the best ones that you can rely on. You might be interested in memo writing examples & samples .

Here are some questions that you can try asking when you look for secondary sources. If you are assigned by your teacher to submit a short essay , please click on the hyperlink found on the sentence.

  • Who is the author?
  • Is it written by an academic with a position at a university?
  • Who is the publisher?
  • Is the book published by an established academic press?
  • If it’s an article, where is published?

4. Read critically.

Once you have found the perfect and the right sources, you are required to read each one critically. You cannot just skim through each of the reference and claim that you have thoroughly read them. But that does not mean that you are required to read every page of that document or book you are assigned to. You may also see report writing examples .

You just have to simply read the important parts and highlight them whenever a specific line or quote strikes you. Reading critically helps increase a person’s thinking ability to ask more discerning and more thought-out questions. For more information, here are at least four effective ways and examples to start your essay .

  • First thing you have to do would be to ask yourself as to why the author is making this argument. Learn to evaluate the said text by placing it into a broader intellectual context.
  • Ask yourself whether or not it is part of a certain tradition in historiography and is it in response to a particular idea.
  • Even the best of key arguments have their own strengths. At some point, you have to consider where there are weaknesses and limitations to the argument.

5. Take thorough notes.

When you conduct your own research, you have to learn to take thorough notes. The main problem among students and researchers alike is when they forget to note them down and immediately place them as reference in their essay or thesis without really taking note on what book it was on or what page number it was on. You may also check out article writing examples & samples .

As consequence, they go back to the library and try to relocate the quote or the said data all over again from the reference. When you see something that strikes you as an important reference or quote to your historical essay, immediately grab a pen and paper and take note of where you can find those references should you decide to include them in the essay or presentation. Writing formal essays can be a bit of challenge if you do not know how or where to even begin.

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Writing the Introduction

1. start with a strong first sentence..

Speeches sometimes open with a joke or a story. Same thing applies when you give an oral report in front of the classroom or the board. But that is not the case in a historical essay.

Since it is not going to be delivered orally, the best opening you can start in a historical essay is with a quote from the source material. It can either be related to the said event or not. But one thing for certain is that the first few sentences even in an essay can change the perceptions of the one reading them if done correctly. You may also see writing examples in doc .

Historical essays are not often a pleasant read especially to the general audience. But if you can appeal to the masses in one way or another, then your essay might even change the lives of people without you knowing about it. For more examples, you may refer to essay writing examples .

2. Outline what you are going to argue.

Just like speech writing, you need to come up with an outline in order to determine where you are going to place your key or main arguments in your essay.

Keep in mind that all the points have to act as a transition in one way or another. Maybe not in a chronological order, but in a sense you have to make certain that each point you indicate in your essay would transition itself so that all the points could correlate with one another. For instance, the moment you move on from point A to point B, people would then understand on why point B happened because of point A. You may also like application writing examples .

In that said outline, you can also mention some quotes and some thesis statements that can paint a more detailed outline which often results into a more developed speech. Personally, perhaps the best kind of essay there is to write is an argumentative essay as you can easily insert your opinions there as long as you have the facts straightened out.

3. Provide some brief context for your work.

Depending on the type of essay you are writing, it will be necessary to provide a brief overview of the main historiographical debates for your topic. It is important to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of what other historians have written about your topic, and be able to situate your own argument within this broader context. You may also check out some tips that you might need for your narrative essay or thesis if you need to write one.

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Writing the Essay

1. have a clear structure..

When you come to write the body of the essay, it is important that you have a clear structure to your argument and to your prose. If your essay drifts, loses focus, or becomes a narrative of events, then you will find your grade dropping. Your introduction can help guide you if you have given a clear indication of the structure of your essay. Sometimes, you would be required to write academic essays for your school assignment. If that is the case, you may want to refer to some examples that can help you out with that.

2. Develop your argument.

The body of the essay is where your argument is really made and where you will be using evidence directly.

Think carefully about how you construct your paragraphs, and think of each paragraph as one micro-sized version of the essay structure. In other words, aim to have a topic sentence introducing each paragraph, followed by the main portion of the paragraph where you explain yourself and draw on the relevant evidence. As aforementioned, you may be required to write up different essays for your schoolwork. But concept essays  are not particularly common.

3. Use source material appropriately.

This is where your source material will come to big use. All that research and data that you have collected over time will finally be reflected in the essay.

But you have to understand that not every source material that you obtain from books or the Internet is going to work out the way you want it as it does have the tendency to contradict, which might eventually raise questions from the teachers. Although source material is important, you only have to choose the cream of the crop quotes and reference material. You may also see  5-step basic guide on essay writing .

Try to limit it to only one quote per point as too many quotes will often be considered redundant. Scholarships have their essays that need making in order to convince the school board to grant that particular scholarship to the applicant. You may also like script writing examples .

4. Conclude succinctly.

Have you heard of the quote “Start strong and end strong”? If you manage to attract to the audience’s appeal in the introduction part of the essay, it is only fitting to conclude in the same manner.

Whether you decide to end with a quote or something, make sure to leave your audience more engaged and more learned than before. Good conclusions summarize your argument and key points. You need to ensure your conclusion reflects the content of your essay, and refer back to the outline you provided in the introduction. You may always refer to essay writing examples for more insight and details.

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Proofreading and Evaluating Your Essay

1. proofread your essay..

After writing your essay, you are entailed to proofread your essay in order to make it sound and seem professionally done. Make sure that your essay is clear of typographical and grammatical errors. If ever the structure of the essay seems out of place or the content itself might be lacking, you can always revisit your essay and make the necessary changes to what you see fit. You may also see informative writing examples .

2. Analyze, don’t describe.

One thing to look out for when you read through your history essay is whether or not you have allowed any overly descriptive passages to creep in. Remember a history essay is an analysis and not just a narrative of events. History students can find themselves re-telling a series of events rather than analyzing them and the historiographical debates about them. Some people often have problems drafting outlines, especially when it comes to essay outlines .

3. Check your references and bibliography.

In making a thesis, it is important that you have a separate page for references and for bibliography. Without them, you could be accused for plagiarism and you would not want that on your record. There is a certain way to format your sources, so make sure you ask your instructor first on what formatting style needs to be used before anything else. You may also like minutes writing examples .

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  • Example of a great essay | Explanations, tips & tricks

Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks

Published on February 9, 2015 by Shane Bryson . Revised on July 23, 2023 by Shona McCombes.

This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction , focused paragraphs , clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion .

Each paragraph addresses a single central point, introduced by a topic sentence , and each point is directly related to the thesis statement .

As you read, hover over the highlighted parts to learn what they do and why they work.

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Table of contents

Other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an essay, an appeal to the senses: the development of the braille system in nineteenth-century france.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

In France, debates about how to deal with disability led to the adoption of different strategies over time. While people with temporary difficulties were able to access public welfare, the most common response to people with long-term disabilities, such as hearing or vision loss, was to group them together in institutions (Tombs, 1996). At first, a joint institute for the blind and deaf was created, and although the partnership was motivated more by financial considerations than by the well-being of the residents, the institute aimed to help people develop skills valuable to society (Weygand, 2009). Eventually blind institutions were separated from deaf institutions, and the focus shifted towards education of the blind, as was the case for the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, which Louis Braille attended (Jimenez et al, 2009). The growing acknowledgement of the uniqueness of different disabilities led to more targeted education strategies, fostering an environment in which the benefits of a specifically blind education could be more widely recognized.

Several different systems of tactile reading can be seen as forerunners to the method Louis Braille developed, but these systems were all developed based on the sighted system. The Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris taught the students to read embossed roman letters, a method created by the school’s founder, Valentin Hauy (Jimenez et al., 2009). Reading this way proved to be a rather arduous task, as the letters were difficult to distinguish by touch. The embossed letter method was based on the reading system of sighted people, with minimal adaptation for those with vision loss. As a result, this method did not gain significant success among blind students.

Louis Braille was bound to be influenced by his school’s founder, but the most influential pre-Braille tactile reading system was Charles Barbier’s night writing. A soldier in Napoleon’s army, Barbier developed a system in 1819 that used 12 dots with a five line musical staff (Kersten, 1997). His intention was to develop a system that would allow the military to communicate at night without the need for light (Herron, 2009). The code developed by Barbier was phonetic (Jimenez et al., 2009); in other words, the code was designed for sighted people and was based on the sounds of words, not on an actual alphabet. Barbier discovered that variants of raised dots within a square were the easiest method of reading by touch (Jimenez et al., 2009). This system proved effective for the transmission of short messages between military personnel, but the symbols were too large for the fingertip, greatly reducing the speed at which a message could be read (Herron, 2009). For this reason, it was unsuitable for daily use and was not widely adopted in the blind community.

Nevertheless, Barbier’s military dot system was more efficient than Hauy’s embossed letters, and it provided the framework within which Louis Braille developed his method. Barbier’s system, with its dashes and dots, could form over 4000 combinations (Jimenez et al., 2009). Compared to the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, this was an absurdly high number. Braille kept the raised dot form, but developed a more manageable system that would reflect the sighted alphabet. He replaced Barbier’s dashes and dots with just six dots in a rectangular configuration (Jimenez et al., 2009). The result was that the blind population in France had a tactile reading system using dots (like Barbier’s) that was based on the structure of the sighted alphabet (like Hauy’s); crucially, this system was the first developed specifically for the purposes of the blind.

While the Braille system gained immediate popularity with the blind students at the Institute in Paris, it had to gain acceptance among the sighted before its adoption throughout France. This support was necessary because sighted teachers and leaders had ultimate control over the propagation of Braille resources. Many of the teachers at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth resisted learning Braille’s system because they found the tactile method of reading difficult to learn (Bullock & Galst, 2009). This resistance was symptomatic of the prevalent attitude that the blind population had to adapt to the sighted world rather than develop their own tools and methods. Over time, however, with the increasing impetus to make social contribution possible for all, teachers began to appreciate the usefulness of Braille’s system (Bullock & Galst, 2009), realizing that access to reading could help improve the productivity and integration of people with vision loss. It took approximately 30 years, but the French government eventually approved the Braille system, and it was established throughout the country (Bullock & Galst, 2009).

Although Blind people remained marginalized throughout the nineteenth century, the Braille system granted them growing opportunities for social participation. Most obviously, Braille allowed people with vision loss to read the same alphabet used by sighted people (Bullock & Galst, 2009), allowing them to participate in certain cultural experiences previously unavailable to them. Written works, such as books and poetry, had previously been inaccessible to the blind population without the aid of a reader, limiting their autonomy. As books began to be distributed in Braille, this barrier was reduced, enabling people with vision loss to access information autonomously. The closing of the gap between the abilities of blind and the sighted contributed to a gradual shift in blind people’s status, lessening the cultural perception of the blind as essentially different and facilitating greater social integration.

The Braille system also had important cultural effects beyond the sphere of written culture. Its invention later led to the development of a music notation system for the blind, although Louis Braille did not develop this system himself (Jimenez, et al., 2009). This development helped remove a cultural obstacle that had been introduced by the popularization of written musical notation in the early 1500s. While music had previously been an arena in which the blind could participate on equal footing, the transition from memory-based performance to notation-based performance meant that blind musicians were no longer able to compete with sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997). As a result, a tactile musical notation system became necessary for professional equality between blind and sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997).

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Bullock, J. D., & Galst, J. M. (2009). The Story of Louis Braille. Archives of Ophthalmology , 127(11), 1532. https://​doi.org/10.1001/​archophthalmol.2009.286.

Herron, M. (2009, May 6). Blind visionary. Retrieved from https://​eandt.theiet.org/​content/​articles/2009/05/​blind-visionary/.

Jiménez, J., Olea, J., Torres, J., Alonso, I., Harder, D., & Fischer, K. (2009). Biography of Louis Braille and Invention of the Braille Alphabet. Survey of Ophthalmology , 54(1), 142–149. https://​doi.org/10.1016/​j.survophthal.2008.10.006.

Kersten, F.G. (1997). The history and development of Braille music methodology. The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education , 18(2). Retrieved from https://​www.jstor.org/​stable/40214926.

Mellor, C.M. (2006). Louis Braille: A touch of genius . Boston: National Braille Press.

Tombs, R. (1996). France: 1814-1914 . London: Pearson Education Ltd.

Weygand, Z. (2009). The blind in French society from the Middle Ages to the century of Louis Braille . Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

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Home — Essay Samples — History — What Is History — The Importance of History

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The Importance of History

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Published: Oct 16, 2018

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What is history, the importance of understanding history, works cited:.

  • Boyne, J. (2006). The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Random House.
  • Crowe, D. (2008). The Holocaust in the eyes of children. The English Journal, 97(4), 25-31.
  • Edelman, L. (1995). The Ghetto Fights. Holocaust Library.
  • Finkelstein, N. G. (2003). The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Verso Books.
  • Gilroy, A. (2011). Ethnic and racial studies. Between camps: Race and culture in postmodernity, 34(3), 458-469.
  • Gleeson-White, J. (2011). Double vision: The Holocaust and representation. Australian Humanities Review, (50), 89-102.
  • Roth, J. K. (2006). Teaching about the Holocaust: essays by college and university teachers. University Press of America.
  • Snyder, T. (2015). Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Crown/Archetype.
  • Wistrich, R. S. (2003). Holocaust and genocide studies. The long road back: Jewish intellectual refugees in post-war Europe, 17(2), 180-199.
  • Zuckerman, M. (1999). A dream undone: The integration of soldiers in World War II. University of California Press.

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How to Write a History Essay With Tips and Examples

22 December 2023

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When students attend history classes, they need to write many historical essays through their courses. Basically, this article provides a guideline on how to write a history essay, teaching students and anyone passionate about the text what is most important. The guideline begins by defining what is a history essay and its meaning, listing possible topics, showing an outline of such a paper, and giving a practical example of a history essay. Students also learn the technical aspects of writing a historical essay, emphasizing the four steps: preparation, stage setup, writing an initial draft, and wrap-up. Finally, the article provides 20 tips for writing a high-standard history essay, including 10 things to do and 10 things not to do when writing such a paper.

General Aspects of How to Write an Outstanding Essay in History and Examples

Reading and writing are interrelated academic exercises because they develop each other. When students develop a habit of reading different types of papers , they induce their mental faculties of intellect, memory, reason, imagination, and intuition, which are vital in constructing logical academic papers, like essays, reports, and research papers. This guideline on how to write a history essay that offers critical insights into how students can create a high-standard text. The article begins by defining what is a history essay and its meaning, listing possible essay topics students can choose from to write it, the technical steps for creating a document, and 20 tips for producing a high-quality paper. It also provides a sample outline template for writing a historical essay and a practical example. Therefore, reading this guideline is helpful to students because it not only educates them about what is essential but also gives a practical example of how to start writing a history essay.

How to Write a History Essay With Tips and Examples

Definition of What Is a History Essay and Its Meaning

From a simple definition, a history essay is a text that gives a historical account of an issue or topic, such as colonialism, slavery, constitutionalism, human rights activism, or feminism. In this respect, it differs from other types of essays , including an analytical essay , a compare and contrast essay , an argumentative essay , a cause and effect essay , or a report and a research paper . Students write history essays when their instructors require them to examine the origin and evolution of an idea with current and future implications. Ideally, writers interrogate their ideas from different historical perspectives and credible sources to understand how some events began, how they have progressed, the people or entities involved in their developments, and how they affect society currently and may influence it in the future. For example, a history essay about a theory would mean that students need to mention the theorist behind it, its application over time, and any developments, such as incorporating new concepts by contemporary scholars.

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Examples of History Essay Topics

Typically, instructors specify essay topics for students in any writing assignment. However, sometimes, students may have to select a topic individually. In the latter case, students should choose history essay topics , history research paper topics , or American history essay topics that are easy to write about, meaning one can easily access materials helpful in creating them, such as books, articles, and videos. The best way to accomplish this task is to read history course content and additional materials to develop and incubate ideas that become rich sources of topics. The following topics are ideal for writing a good history essay because they suggest giving a historical account of an idea.

  • Racial Dynamics in the Harlem Renaissance: A Detailed Study
  • The Impact of the Printing Press on Renaissance Europe
  • Examination of Manifest Destiny’s Influence on Territorial Expansion
  • Exploring the Factors that Led to the American Revolutionary War
  • Discussing the Development of the United States as a Republic
  • Examining the Sentiments that Have Shaped the Abortion Debate
  • Explaining How the Republican and Democratic Parties Differ From a Philosophical Perspective
  • Discussing the Shift of U.S. Foreign Policy From Isolationism to Interventionism
  • Covering the Circumstances That Contributed to the End of the Cold War
  • Discussing Religion in the Aztec Era
  • Understanding the Role of City-States in Ancient Greece
  • Exploring the Cultural Aspects of Immigration

Sample Outline Template for Writing a History Essay

I. Introduction

  • Hook : Use a quote, history fact, or question to capture the reader’s attention and trigger their interest to continue reading.
  • Brief background: Tell readers about an assigned topic by addressing issues central to this theme that help contextualize a historical discussion.
  • Thesis statement : Use a short sentence to tell readers the history essay’s primary objective or ultimate agenda.

Use all body paragraphs with the following:

  • A topic sentence that introduces a single idea about an assigned history theme that supports a central claim of an essay.
  • Incorporate evidence from reliable sources or primary sources that help back up a single history idea.
  • Comment on evidence cited and how it helps readers understand an assigned history topic.
  • End with a concluding sentence with a transition or bridge sentence that enhances a logical progression to the next paragraph or section.

Note: The number of body paragraphs depends on the volume of work, essay structure , college essay length , and assignment requirements. For example, for writing a 1000-word history essay (4 double spaced pages or 2 single spaced pages), there should be 3-5 body paragraphs, meaning 100-200 words per one body paragraph. In turn, first and last paragraphs of a history essay must be only 5-10% of the whole word count.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate a central thesis in different words.
  • Provide a summary of the main ideas discussed in topic sentences.
  • Give a final remark about an assigned topic that leaves readers with a lasting impression after reading a history essay.

Example of a Good History Essay

Topic: Discussing the Shift of U.S. Foreign Policy from Isolationism to Interventionism

I. Example of an Introduction in a History Essay

American foreign policy is the most significant in world history for good and bad reasons. The early 20th century saw the United States adopt an isolationist foreign policy under the administration of President Herbert Hoover. The reason behind this stance was the prosperity and high standard of living the country experienced, making it meaningless to meddle in the affairs of Europe. However, the spread of fascism in Europe disturbed this illusion of safety and compelled the country to shift its foreign policy from isolationism to interventionism.

II. Examples of Body Paragraphs in a History Essay

A. isolationism.

The U.S. maintained isolationism in its foreign policy in the early 20th century because, while the nation was developing economically, some issues required internal politicking. As such, the country was increasingly insensitive to the threat of fascism in European democracies. Even if its allies were in trouble created by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the U.S. determined to avoid all conflicts at all costs. Ideally, American politicians saw no prospect of European troubles reaching their motherland if the country was not involved. Nonetheless, Americans feared that the instability in Europe could spread to their land. In turn, optimistically naïve politicians began initiatives to protect the country from the threat of war. For example, Frank B. Kellogg created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which saw 15 countries agree to protect America from the threat of war. Consequently, the Nine Power Treaty affirmed China’s territorial integrity through the Open Door policy. However, Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931 marked the end of the policy. Therefore, while the U.S. was keen to keep the world stable, events were moving too fast to remain aloof and optimistic. The takeover of free countries one by one by the Nazi war machine triggered panic among Americans who realized the folly of optimism in a world under crisis. Besides, politicians began clamoring for the country’s involvement in foreign affairs between 1930 and 1941, when the focus shifted from isolationism to interventionism.

B. Reasons for Moving to Interventionism

The 1940s were instrumental to U.S. foreign policy because the country finally realized that it could no longer be unconcerned about what was happening in Europe. For example, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the faces of fascism, were wreaking havoc in the region to create fear among Americans that this idea may reach their shores in no time. As a country with a history with Britain, the U.S. could no longer assume that Britain’s fate was irrelevant. Therefore, support for Britain marked the first sign of the shift of U.S. foreign policy from isolationism to interventionism. However, this shift was minimal because it was based on material support for Britain. It took the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, for the U.S. to embrace interventionism fully as Americans anger propelled the country’s immediate revenge against Japan.

C. Adopting Interventionism

The administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt propelled the U.S. to full interventionism when it agreed to dispatch American troops to aid European allies in repelling fascist forces. For example, the president’s famous “Quarantine Speech” called for ending isolationism because it was dangerous to a free world. In 1940, the U.S. deployed 50 World War I destroyers to Britain, which offered eight defense bases in its colonies in South America and other regions strategic to a global conflict. The U.S. Congress repealed the Neutrality Acts, officially ending isolationism as a foreign policy stance in favor of interventionism. The new perspective saw the country sell weapons to Britain on a ‘cash-and-carry’ basis to avoid the Nazi war machine attacking American ships. America’s dedication to the new policy compelled President Roosevelt to establish the lend-lease system that provided billions of dollars to Britain in American military equipment. The League of Nations gave the U.S. a stage to demonstrate its involvement in foreign affairs because its provisions affirmed people’s right to peace and security. As such, the Pearl Harbor attack gave the U.S. every reason to attack Japan.

III. Example of a Conclusion in a History Essay

The instability in Europe triggered the shift from an isolationist position to an interventionist stance in the U.S. foreign policy. As fascism spread in Europe and the Nazi war machine overran democracies in this part of the world, the U.S. feared that being aloof to these events was dangerous to its citizens and future. As such, politicians and Congress took measures to ensure the country’s involvement in foreign affairs, specifically to end the threat that Hitler and Mussolini presented to the peace and security of free nations.

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4 Easy Steps for Writing a Great History Essay

Writing a well-organized history essay is a technical process involving four main steps: preparation, stage setup, writing a first draft of a history essay, and wrap-up. Students should approach each step fully armed with essential details to make the paper meet quality expectations. For example, these details include a topic, background information, thesis statement, topic sentences, evidence, and transitions. Each element must appear in the right section. Therefore, the most crucial factor for students is knowing the basic structure of a history essay because it helps to shape their writing mindset.

Step 1: Preparation

The first step in writing a history essay is preparation, which involves several tasks. The first aspect is to define a specific topic if instructions are not provided. For example, the best approach to selecting a particular topic is using ideas one has generated and incubated over time. In this case, history topics must reflect course content, meaning writers should not define their themes without historical context. The second task is to organize the ideas following the paper’s basic structure, meaning one must determine where each idea falls: introduction, body, or conclusion. In this respect, creating a well-organized essay outline is the third task in the preparation stage. Lastly, writers should consider the audience and the history essay’s purpose, such as assessment or publication. These details determine if one should use simple or technical language. As a result, preparation is where students undertake activities that make it easy to turn ideas into starting a history essay.

Step 2: Stage Setup

Setting the stage is the second step in writing a history essay. In this case, students should research to find evidence to back up their claims about their topics. When doing research, people should make notes of ideas, concepts, statistics, and interesting facts to incorporate into a historical paper. The next task is to match these details with a history essay’s outline, meaning each element must appear in the right section. Since evidence appears in the main section of a history essay, one should ensure all body paragraphs are sufficient for the ideas, concepts, data, and facts from the research process. For example, the best way to collect evidence is to research credible materials, like government reports and primary resources , from key figures involved in the historical development of the idea. As such, libraries and online archives are good places to search for evidence.

Step 3: Writing an Initial Draft

Writing an initial draft is the third step in writing a history essay. For example, students should focus on organizing the ideas into writing the text. People can also search for more information from secondary sources if the ideas are insufficient. However, if there are too many, one should delete some of them and their corresponding sources. The paper’s outline will change whether one adds or deletes some history course sources. Moreover, students must ensure this change does not affect their ability to communicate their ideas logically. In essence, writing a first draft allows people to construct a paper following a history essay’s outline correctly.

Writing an Introduction Paragraph for a History Essay

When writing an introduction paragraph, students must know the expectations. The first thing is to develop a hook, a statement with a quote, data, question, or other interesting fact that grabs the readers’ attention and triggers their interest to continue reading a history essay. The next aspect is to provide a brief background to contextualize an assigned topic and make readers aware of some of the issues central to the main theme. The next activity is to conclude the section with a clear historical thesis, which means a short sentence communicating the writer’s claim and serving the paper’s primary purpose or main agenda. When writing an introduction section, students should know their goal in history is to contextualize a central topic and state a claim demonstrating their thoughts.

Writing Body Paragraphs for a History Essay

A body part of a history essay is the most comprehensive section because it provides substantial details about a specific topic. For example, it is standard for students to construct several body paragraphs depending on the paper’s length and the ideas they wish to use to back up their claim. The first detail in each body paragraph of a history essay is a topic sentence with an idea that links the section to the thesis. The following detail is evidence that establishes a single idea and demonstrates evidence-based writing. In this case, students should use a sandwich rule in each body paragraph, meaning they must comment on evidence cited before proceeding to another history idea. Furthermore, writers should provide a concluding sentence with a transition to allow a logical progression to the next paragraph or section. Hence, students should understand that the body of a history essay is where they must convince the audience that they know an assigned topic well to make a valid claim.

Writing a Conclusion Paragraph for a History Essay

A conclusion paragraph is the part of a history essay that marks the end of writing a paper. As such, students should restate a central thesis from an introduction part using different words, summarize the main ideas discussed in body paragraphs, and give a final remark that leaves a lasting impression on the audience. Moreover, students must refrain from introducing new ideas in this last section because it would be useless and affect the paper’s quality. In turn, this part of a history essay aims to reiterate the ideas covered in body paragraphs and provide the writer’s final remark about their understanding of a particular topic.

Step 4: Wrap-Up

Wrapping up a final paper is the last step in writing a history essay. Because the focus is to perfect an initial draft, students should read and reread their history essays to identify and eliminate mistakes. Therefore, the activities that should define this step are revising a history essay to fix inconsistencies, such as ideas and sentences that do not make sense. Another task is editing a history essay to correct grammatical mistakes like missing punctuation and formatting mistakes like incorrect citations. Then, people need to confirm their outlines by ensuring all the essential elements of the introduction, body, and conclusion are included. In turn, writers should focus on a hook, background, and history thesis statement for the introduction; topic sentences, evidence, and transitions or bridge sentences for body paragraphs; and rewording and restating a central thesis statement, providing a summary of the main ideas, and including a final remark for the conclusion. Lastly, one should confirm the correct formatting ( APA , MLA , Harvard , or Chicago/Turabian ):

📕 APA Format

If a history essay adopts an APA formatting style, students should provide in-text citations and create a ‘References’ page at the end of the paper to list all the sources used. In turn, in-text citations have two formats:

  • The first one has the author’s surname and the source’s publication year in the sentence and the page number at the end of the sentence. An example is:

According to Müller and Mildenberger (2021), college students prefer online classes over physical lecture halls because of convenience and flexibility (p. 6).

  • The second format is all the details at the end of the sentence. An example is:

Evidence shows convenience and flexibility make college students prefer online classes over physical lecture halls (Müller & Mildenberger, 2021, p. 6).

  • Reference entry example for this article should read:

Müller, C., & Mildenberger, T. (2021). Replacing classroom learning with online learning: A systematic review. Educational Research Review , 34 , 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100394

📕 MLA Format

If a history essay follows an MLA formatting style, students should use in-text citations and create a ‘Works Cited’ page to capture all the sources. In this case, in-text citations come in two forms: some details in the sentence and all the details at the end of the sentence.

  • An example of the first form is:

Müller and Mildenberger argue that most students in higher learning institutions prefer online over physical learning because of convenience and flexibility (6).

  • The second form is:

Scholars suggest most students in colleges and universities prefer online classes over classroom attendance because of convenience and flexibility (Müller and Mildenberger 6).

  • Works Cited entry example for this article would read:

Müller, Claude, and Thoralf Mildenberger. “Replacing Classroom Learning With Online Learning: A Systematic Review.” Educational Research Review, vol. 34, 2021, pp. 1-16, doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100394.

📕 Harvard Format

If students adopt a Harvard formatting style for writing a history essay, they should provide in-text citations and create a ‘References List’ at the end of a document.

  • The first format of in-text citations is having some details about a source in the sentence:

Müller and Mildenberger (2021) found that students in colleges and universities prefer to study online than attend physical classrooms (p. 6).

  • The second format captures all the details about a source at the end:

Research shows most college and university students prefer online classes over classroom learning (Müller & Mildenberger 2021, p. 6).

  • References List entry example for this source would read:

Müller, C & Mildenberger, T 2021, ‘Replacing classroom learning with online learning: A systematic review,’ Educational Research Review , vol. 34, pp. 1-16, DOI:10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100394.

📕 Chicago/Turabian Format

If a history essay follows a Chicago/Turabian style, students should use in-text citations and create a ‘Bibliography’ page at the end of a document to list all the sources. In-text citations appear as footnotes and can have the author’s name in the sentence. The uniqueness of this style is that the details in the footnotes reflect all the information on the Bibliography page with minor alterations.

  • In-text citation within the text:

Today, people prefer online classes rather than attending physical places. 1

  • Example of a footnote for writing a history essay:

1. Claude Müller and Thoralf Mildenberger, “Replacing Classroom Learning With Online Learning: A Systematic Review.” Educational Research Review 34, (2021): p. 6, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100394

  • Bibliography entry should read:

Müller, Claude, and Thoralf Mildenberger. “Replacing Classroom Learning With Online Learning: A Systematic Review.” Educational Research Review 34, (2021): pp. 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100394

20 Tips for Writing a High-Standard History Essay

Since writing a history essay is a technical process that requires students to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of a basic outline and essential details, it is helpful to learn some tips. These recommendations include identifying the purpose of a historical assignment, defining a specific topic, formulating a clear thesis that states a claim, knowing where to get academic sources that provide evidence supporting a single claim, creating a history outline and populating each section with ideas, ensuring an introduction paragraph has all essential details (a hook, background information, and thesis), understanding that all body paragraphs have topic sentences, evidence, and concluding sentences with a transition or a bridge sentence, and finalizing writing a history essay with a conclusion paragraph that summarizes a paper and does not introduce new ideas.

10 things to do when writing a history essay include:

  • defining a specific topic that requires one to provide a historical account of an idea or topic;
  • researching an assigned topic widely to generate ideas and collect evidence;
  • creating a well-organized outline that meets a basic structure of an introduction, body, and conclusion;
  • formulating body paragraphs with topic sentences, evidence, and transitions;
  • adopting a sandwich rule to demonstrate evidence-based history writing;
  • writing a historical essay without grammar or format mistakes;
  • providing a conclusion that concludes a history paper;
  • following one format style (APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago);
  • citing all evidence;
  • proofreading a history essay.

10 things not to do include:

  • including a long, complex history topic;
  • having an introduction that does not create a context;
  • providing an unclear thesis or stating a biased claim;
  • writing an extensive history introduction;
  • adding too many headings and subheadings;
  • starting body paragraphs without topic sentences that communicate a single idea;
  • failing to incorporate evidence in a history essay;
  • using outdated evidence;
  • creating illogical sentences;
  • focusing on too many ideas in one paragraph.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect History Essay

  • Define a short and clear history topic.
  • Use direct quotes or paraphrase information to defend a central claim in a thesis statement.
  • Give a historical account of a chosen topic and not an analysis of events.
  • Use strong topic sentences that express ideas central to a history thesis.
  • Incorporate credible sources, such as speeches, research articles, and government records, to cite evidence.
  • Correctly use the proper format (APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian).
  • Read and reread a final draft of a history essay to eliminate all grammar and format mistakes.
  • Proofread a final paper to ensure it is logical.

To Learn More, Read Relevant Articles

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Category: history essay examples.

See our collection of history essay examples. These example essays are to help you understanding how to write a history essay . History is a fascinating puzzle with both personal and cultural significance. The past informs our lives, ideas, and expectations. Historians study the past to figure out what happened and how specific events and cultural developments affected individuals and societies. Also, see our list of history essay topics to find the one that interests you.

Essay Examples

IB History EE examples

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Black History Month: What is it and why is it important?

Black History Month - A visitor at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories. Image:  Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

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essay example history

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This article was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated .

  • A continued engagement with history is vital as it helps give context for the present.
  • Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement.
  • This year's theme is African Americans and the Arts.

February is Black History Month. This month-long observance in the US and Canada is a chance to celebrate Black achievement and provide a fresh reminder to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations creating change. Here's what to know about Black History Month and how to celebrate it this year:

Have you read?

Black history month: key events in a decade of black lives matter, here are 4 ways businesses can celebrate black history month, how did black history month begin.

Black History Month's first iteration was Negro History Week, created in February 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, known as the "father of Black history." This historian helped establish the field of African American studies and his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History , aimed to encourage " people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to discuss the Black experience ".

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” ― Carter G. Woodson

His organization was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and is currently the oldest historical society established for the promotion of African American history.

Why is Black History Month in February?

February was chosen by Woodson for the week-long observance as it coincides with the birthdates of both former US President Abraham Lincoln and social reformer Frederick Douglass. Both men played a significant role in helping to end slavery. Woodson also understood that members of the Black community already celebrated the births of Douglass and Lincoln and sought to build on existing traditions. "He was asking the public to extend their study of Black history, not to create a new tradition", as the ASALH explained on its website.

How did Black History Month become a national month of celebration?

By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil-rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week was celebrated by mayors in cities across the country. Eventually, the event evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History month. In his speech, President Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

Since his administration, every American president has recognized Black History Month and its mission. But it wasn't until Congress passed "National Black History Month" into law in 1986 that many in the country began to observe it formally. The law aimed to make all Americans "aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity".

Why is Black History Month celebrated?

Initially, Black History Month was a way of teaching students and young people about Black and African-Americans' contributions. Such stories had been largely forgotten and were a neglected part of the national narrative.

Now, it's seen as a celebration of those who've impacted not just the country but the world with their activism and achievements. In the US, the month-long spotlight during February is an opportunity for people to engage with Black histories, go beyond discussions of racism and slavery, and highlight Black leaders and accomplishments.

What is this year's Black History Month theme?

Every year, a theme is chosen by the ASALH, the group originally founded by Woodson. This year's theme, African Americans and the Arts .

"In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount," the website says.

Is Black History Month celebrated anywhere else?

In Canada, they celebrate it in February. In countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland, they celebrate it in October. In Canada, African-Canadian parliament member Jean Augustine motioned for Black History Month in 1995 to bring awareness to Black Canadians' work.

When the UK started celebrating Black History Month in 1987, it focused on Black American history. Over time there has been more attention on Black British history. Now it is dedicated to honouring African people's contributions to the country. Its UK mission statement is: "Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger".

Why is Black History Month important?

For many modern Black millennials, the month-long celebration for Black History Month offers an opportunity to reimagine what possibilities lie ahead. But for many, the forces that drove Woodson nearly a century ago are more relevant than ever. As Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian Institution said at the opening of the Washington D.C.'s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016: “There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honouring our struggle and ancestors by remembering".

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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Reflections on Black History Month 2024

This oil painting depicts a bouquet of off-white roses and greenery in a brown bowl. The round bowl, done in deep brown tones, stands to the right side of the picture. In the bowl are five blooms and several sprays of greenery. Several other blossoms, a sprig of greenery and a long stem lie scattered around the bowl. Peeking from behind the bowl are a pile of darker green leaves and a cluster of bright red berries. Hanging on the left hand background wall is a textile with a yellow, red, and white plaid pattern.

In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson established “Negro History Week,” and fifty years later, President Gerald Ford designated the month of February “Black History Month” in 1976. This year’s theme recognizes the Arts, a recognition of the significant impact of Black arts on US culture.

While the arts are essential to our wellbeing, not a frivolous addition, this year’s theme—no doubt selected way in advance—feels out of step with the current challenges. US history is full of advances of Black rights followed by subsequent pushback.

In 2020, amidst a historic pandemic and stark racial disparities, the world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd, prompting a willingness to recognize the persistence of US racism.

In 2024, teachers, scholars, artists, and activists—particularly those advocating for a comprehensive examination of America’s complex past—find themselves navigating tumultuous waters. Articulation of unwelcome facts may even lead to the curtailment of free speech. I read with interest and concern a commentary by Khalil Gibran Muhammad , who reflects on how scholarship that focuses on racism can enter the crosshairs.

Many Black artists lent their skills to the movement for Black rights. Here are a few examples:

  • 14 Black Artists Who Changed Art History
  • The Black Arts Movement and the Power of Resistance
  • Black Women Artists: Shattering Stereotypes and Reclaiming Narratives
  • National Gallery of Art: Black History Month
  • Kara Walker
  • Romare Bearden

In 2024, let Black History Month be a time for reflection, education, creativity, and advocacy. At FXB, our efforts are dedicated to supporting marginalized and excluded groups. By understanding the interconnectedness of historical struggles, recent challenges, and the path forward, we can contribute to an inclusive and equitable future for all.

— Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

Featured image: Creative Commons Still Life with Roses by Charles Ethan Porter, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, is licensed under CC0 .

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  4. Writing a History Paper

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  6. History Essay: A Complete Writing Guide for Students

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  1. HOW TO SCORE FOR HISTORY ESSAY

  2. History essay writing

  3. Essay Formatting

  4. Essay Writing

  5. Explaining the 4 types of essays

  6. Definition, Characteristics, Types, History of Essay in English Literature

COMMENTS

  1. PDF A Brief Guide to Writing the History Paper

    Common Types of History Papers History papers come in all shapes and sizes. Some papers are narrative (organized like a story according to chronology, or the sequence of events), and some are analytical (organized like an essay according to the topic's internal logic). Some papers are concerned with history (not just what happened,

  2. How to write an introduction for a history essay

    1. Background sentences. The first two or three sentences of your introduction should provide a general introduction to the historical topic which your essay is about. This is done so that when you state your , your reader understands the specific point you are arguing about. Background sentences explain the important historical period, dates ...

  3. Writing Historical Essays

    Section 1: What Is Historical Writing? Elements The basic elements of academic essay writing are two: a thesis and evidence, divided into three parts: an introduction, the systematic development of an argument, and a conclusion. All scholarly writing, from the most concise paper to the longest book, follows these basic guidlines. Thesis

  4. History Essay: Topics, Tips and the Outline

    How to Write a History Essay? 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.

  5. PDF HISTORY ESSAY GUIDE

    reading and taking notes, writing an outline, composing a draft, and revising your draft into a. polished essay. These stages often overlap. This guide addresses some of the most common questions related to researching, writing, and formatting a history research paper. It provides visual examples for the main stages of the.

  6. How to Write a History Essay (with Pictures)

    1 Evaluate the essay question. The first thing to do if you have a history essay to write, is to really spend some time evaluating the question you are being asked. No matter how well-written, well-argued, or well-evidenced your essay is, if you don't answer the answer the question you have been asked, you cannot expect to receive a top mark.

  7. Tips from my first year

    11 May 2021 This is the third of a three part series giving advice on the essay writing process, focusing in this case on essay writing. Daniel is a first year BA History and Politics student at Magdalen College. He is a disabled student and the first in his immediate family to go to university.

  8. History Essay: A Complete Writing Guide for Students

    Writing a history essay requires a lot of work and experience. A student needs to show a high level of knowledge and understanding of historical events, as well analytical and research skills. No wonder many students find it challenging to compose a well-written essay! To achieve success, use the following tips to level-up your writing abilities

  9. How to Write a History Essay

    Step 1: Understand the History Paper Format You may be assigned one of several types of history papers. The most common are persuasive essays and research papers. History professors might also ask you to write an analytical paper focused on a particular source or an essay that reviews secondary sources. Spend some time reading the assignment.

  10. AP US History long essay example 1 (video)

    Video transcript. - [Voiceover] Okay, this video is about the long essay section on the AP U.S. History exam. Now you might also have heard this called the free response question or FRQ. I think it is officially called the long essay question, so that's what we're gonna go with for now. Now this is the last essay that you'll be writing on the ...

  11. AP U.S. History Long Essay Example

    The AP U.S. History long essay question assesses your ability to apply knowledge of history in a complex, analytical manner. In other words, you are expected to treat history and historical questions as a historian would. This process is called historiography—the skills and strategies historians use to analyze and interpret historical ...

  12. How to write source-based history essays

    How to write source-based history essays. The biggest assessment task you will be required to complete is a written research essay which develops an argument and uses a range of sources. All types of assessment tasks will need you to use essay-writing skills in some form, but their fundamental structure and purpose remains the same.

  13. Writing a history essay

    Writing a history essay An essay is a piece of sustained writing in response to a question, topic or issue. Essays are commonly used for assessing and evaluating student progress in history. History essays test a range of skills including historical understanding, interpretation and analysis, planning, research and writing.

  14. How to Write a History Essay: Examples, Tips & Tricks

    Highlight key events, figures, or developments leading up to the main focus of your history essay. Body paragraphs 2-4 (or more): Main Arguments and Supporting Evidence. Each paragraph should focus on a specific argument or aspect of your thesis. Present evidence from primary and secondary sources to support each argument.

  15. 30+ History Essay Examples to Help You Get Started

    1. Sample History Essays 2. How to Use History Essay Examples Sample History Essays Explore our collection of excellent history paper examples about various topics. Download the pdf examples for free and read to get inspiration for your own essay. History Essay Samples for Middle School The Impact of Ancient Civilizations on Modern Society

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    19+ History Essay Writing Examples - PDF In order to even begin writing an essay, one must first understand on what an essay is and what exactly comprises it. An essay is also a short piece of writing on a particular subject. 32+ Free Writing Examples 21+ Essay Writing Examples

  17. Example of a Great Essay

    Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009).

  18. The Importance of History: [Essay Example], 527 words

    History is important because we are the past: we are the sum of all the events good, bad, and indifferent that have happened to us. This sum product guides our actions in the present. This is true not only for the individual. The only way we can understand who we are and how we got to be that way is by studying the past.

  19. How to Write a History Essay With Tips and Examples

    For example, for writing a 1000-word history essay (4 double spaced pages or 2 single spaced pages), there should be 3-5 body paragraphs, meaning 100-200 words per one body paragraph. In turn, first and last paragraphs of a history essay must be only 5-10% of the whole word count.

  20. History Essay Examples ⋆ EssayEmpire

    See our collection of history essay examples. These example essays are to help you understanding how to write a history essay . History is a fascinating puzzle with both personal and cultural significance. The past informs our lives, ideas, and expectations.

  21. IB History EE examples

    IB History EE examples Filter exemplars IB Common App Category IA EE TOK Notes Subject Type a subject Criteria Select Grade A B C D E Session May 2025 May 2024 November 2023 May 2023 November 2022 May 2022 November 2021 May 2021 November 2020 May 2020 Other Apply To what extent were the Nuremberg Trials defendants afforded a fair due process?

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    An Explanation On The British Imperial Policies History Essay. Example essay. Last modified: 28th Jun 2023. Argument 2: British policies between 1763 and 1776 were focused on using the colonies to raise revenue in ways that the colonists saw as unconstitutional. Fact 1: sugar act and writs of assistance Fac...

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    Cheap Business Essay Writing Services. Before being accepted into our company, we underwent extensive background checks. Check their credentials to confirm that they have been writing professionally for some time. If they are members of professional associations, check, for instance. Some students may have difficulty completing their research ...

  24. Golf: History, Training And Possible Injuries Free Essay Example

    Golf is one of the oldest sports which is still popular among us today. It is known to be the sport with longest history which traces back to Julius Caesar where they stroked feather-stuffed balls with club shaped tree branches. Golf began to spread flourishly in Great Britain in seventeenth century which came up with British Open in 1860.

  25. Black History Month: What is it and why do we need it?

    Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement. This year's theme is African Americans and the Arts. February is Black History Month. This month-long observance in the US and Canada is a chance to celebrate Black achievement and provide a fresh ...

  26. Reflections on Black History Month 2024

    Romare Bearden. In 2024, let Black History Month be a time for reflection, education, creativity, and advocacy. At FXB, our efforts are dedicated to supporting marginalized and excluded groups. By understanding the interconnectedness of historical struggles, recent challenges, and the path forward, we can contribute to an inclusive and ...