A history essay is a difficult piece of coursework in which you not only have to state your position, but also show your knowledge of the chosen period. This essay is often given in history courses. If you are planning to take the history exam and apply for a similar qualification, it is time to learn how to write such a paper correctly. In this article, we will try to answer the question of how to write history essay. Our recommendations will help you get an excellent paper.
History essay topics
We can distinguish 2 types of history essays:
- Quotation-based reasoning;
- Analysis of a selected period.
The first type is sometimes given in high school or in non-core courses. Writing an essay based on a quotation is simple: you need to relate the quotation to the activities of its author and express your attitude towards this historical figure. Most often for such essays, quotations are either unambiguously positive figures whose merits in the history of the state are undeniable, or sharply negative ones (for example, dictators). In this type of essay, the main thing is to give examples of historical events that support the statement.
Analysis of a selected period
This kind of essay is applicable to examinations, and is also sometimes given to students studying history. Choose from several periods and explain in detail the meaning of one of them. In higher education the essay may also be written for World History. In any case, the structure of the history essay will be the same.
Criteria for essay writing in history
When assessing the work, the following will be taken into account:
- indicating two specific events in the chosen period;
- reflection of the role of two historical figures in these events;
- revealing two causal connections;
- assessment of the significance of the period for the history of the country;
- the use of scientific terminology;
- absence of factual errors;
- correctness of the form of presentation.
Requirements for the historical essay
Based on the criteria, the main requirement for the work is to show in a concise form a good knowledge of the chosen period. The essay is based on two key events: choose the most important and significant facts (wars, uprisings, regime change, adoption of key documents, etc.). Depending on the events chosen, reflect in them the role of two historical figures. Heads of state, members of government, warlords, leaders of revolts are the most appropriate.
To reflect cause and effect relationships, indicate what other events took place during the period under study, and what they led to later. Here you can go beyond the years indicated and consider how they affected the other phases. Summarise all of the above: did the chosen period contribute to the development of the state or was it a crisis in its history. Support the thought with concrete facts or a quote from an authoritative scholar. You should also find out how to make a list in an essay and clarify all other requirements. After all, the professor’s requirements may be different in each individual situation and you should know them clearly.
History Essay Plan
The requirements for the essay stipulate its structure, which consists of 4 paragraphs:
- Paragraph 1 – indicate that the period analysed is important for the history of the country and confirm it with two significant events;
- Paragraph 2 – describe the role of historical figures in the events;
- Paragraph 3 – describe the identified cause-effect relations;
- Paragraph 4 – summarise the significance of the period.
The history essay follows the same format as similar essays on other subjects. The main difference is the volume: while for humanitarian disciplines it does not exceed 300 words, for history 300-500 words is optimal. It is not worth writing an essay of less than 200 words, as it will obviously not cover all the necessary aspects.
Rules for writing a history essay
To get the maximum score for your work, follow these guidelines:
- choose the period you know best;
- choose four or five major events and think about how you want to reflect them in your essay;
- select the most important historical figures;
- memorise a few opinions from scholar-historians beforehand;
- include only those dates you are certain of;
- be sure to avoid grammatical and lexical errors: remember, the form of presentation is also evaluated.
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