The civil war was fought from 1861 to 1865. About 620,000 soldiers died during these years. The civil war was caused by a difference in opinions over the slavery issue. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president. During his presidency, one of his main concerns was to keep slavery out of the territories that had … Read more
Nigeria, officially, The Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic consisting of 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The nation is located on the coast of West Africa, bordered by the Bight of Benin and the Gulf of Guinea in south and it is bordered by Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, … Read more
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began in December 1979, when the first troops crossed the Afghan border. Almost 9 years onwards from this event and during the first ‘perestroika’, in 1988, Gorbachev, as the leader of Politburo began the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Between the warring years, many Soviet troops were profoundly affected … Read more
Introduction Anti-Semitism, or hostility or prejudice against Jews as an ethnic, religious or racial group, can be traced back to the biblical era with the crucifixion of Jesus and the backlash against the Jews as a result of Jesus’ death. This first instance set the tone for future events in which Jews were blamed for … Read more
Preface To briefly give a description of the rise and fall of the British Empire is quite a daunting task. This is mainly because it was never a static empire. It changed a lot because it had to react to events, opportunities and threats, and if you look at it historically there were actually two … Read more
The Victorian epoch was characterised by rapid transformation and developments in nearly every sphere, from advances in medical, scientific and technological knowledge to changes in population growth and location. Over time, the country’s mood was deeply affected by this rapid change. This age started with a confidence and optimism leading to economic boom and prosperity. … Read more
The end of the 15th century marked the blossoming of educational institutions and humanistic studies in England. Drawing from the ideas of Lauwerys et al., such a period represented rapid transformation from the medieval tradition to the period of the Renaissance. With the ushering in of the new century, therefore, the humanists produced texts for … Read more
The History of Public Education in the US can be broken down into three phases in order to trace the different developments and changes that have happened and shaped public education as it is at present. Public education in the US has largely been shaped by the political and social events and movements which have … Read more
[CONCEPT] Federalism is a type of government wherein the power is divided between the national government and the other governmental units. It is one of the most important concepts in the U.S. Constitution, although the word itself did not appear there. Federalism in the United States has slightly evolved, ever since it started in 1787. … Read more
Cixi was able to modernize China in a way that no one saw coming. She created a massive empire while her people were outnumbered 1:100 by the Han. “Cixi had foresight, defiance and courage. What she lacked was a mandate.” (Chang Pg 201) She couldn’t have done what she did alone and had no instructions … Read more
For nearly 2500 years, the body of water that has been lapping the coasts of Iran, Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, has been known to the world as “The Persian Gulf (U.S. Department of State, 1969, pp, 18-27) In spite of this historical name, the latter part of the 20th century … Read more
I chose to write about the major causes and consequences of World War I because I feel like World War II is more widely familiar and well-versed in history lessons. There were many causes that led to World War I, following the era of industrialization in Europe. Competition continued to rise among existing European nation-states, … Read more
In our nation’s history, there has been a select few eras of unimaginable war and chaos that changed entire generations, politics, and alliances. They distorted peace on every front, and will live on in our hearts forever as we mourn our loss but admire our nation’s strength and courage, even through years of misfortune and … Read more
Homosexuality has become one of the most debated topics in history near the 21st century. It proceeded a large period of hatred and dissociation in the years before, and also has remnants in ancient civilizations. The subject of homosexuality in society today has become increasingly normalized due to recent changes in society and law, and … Read more
The Vikings were a force to be reckoned with during their age and were often depicted as being brutal and powerful. Women in the Viking age are often cast aside and yet, it can be shown that they were an important part of everyday life. What we know of women is from stories, specifically the … Read more
Part 1 Emerald Hill is presented today as a historic area centrally located near the downtown core. URA brochures make Emerald Hill to be “an attractive and quiet residential neighbourhood” along with some commercial premises in the main shopping zone near Orchard Road. Viewed as a historic area worth conserving, Emerald Hill was included … Read more
The Industrial Revolution had a long-lasting effect on the entire world, with advancements in technology, economics, weaponry, and daily life. It is often times lumped into one era, however, it is more accurate to separate it into two distinct revolutions. The first Industrial Revolution, which took place during the 18th and 19th centuries, was more … Read more
The 1980’s is considered one of the greatest decades of all time. It was a time of big hair, broad shoulders, great music and movies, crazy, bright neon colors, and milestones. The 1980’s was also a time of increased drug use. The crack epidemic is the period of time in the 80’s when the use … Read more
Following the conclusion of World War II, a new era of proxy conflicts known as the Cold War emerged as a result of the deterioration of relations between the two competing hegemonies: the United States and the Soviet Union. Although the two had previously fought alongside one another to defeat fascism, American concern about the … Read more
Topic 2: Ending the Fed’s Dual mandate History In the 1970’s our economic stability as a country was declining with high inflation and unemployment. This was mostly caused by an economic condition called stagflation. This is when economic growth is stagnant while unemployment rates continue to rise. The reason stagflation is such an issue is … Read more
Introduction Human migration has been happening historically for more than 1.7 million years. Humans move due to many factors such as changing climate, landscape and search for food. As there has been an extensive global shift and migration of foreign workers, this research paper explores the migration of humans for the purpose of … Read more
The Battle of Gallipoli, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Gallipoli campaign, or the Battle of Çanakkale, took place during the First World War in the Ottoman Empire (or modern day Turkey) for almost a year between February 17, 1915 to January 9, 1916. The Ottoman Empire at the time of the Great War was considered the … Read more
Rampant injustice became a staple of Latin American societies. Citizens of Latin America viewed their present situations ridden by starvation, disease, and socio-economic oppression as being part of their destitute and poverty-stricken status. While it seemed that the odds of the majorities and developed nations were stacked against Latin America, a growing grassroots movement of … Read more
In the early 80s, standards on television loosened, bans on violent action got repealed and educational requirements got lowered. This of course led to big companies taking advantage by using cartoons to market merchandise. G.I. Joe, He-Man, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, all of these shows primarily were created to sell toys and other licensed merchandise. … Read more
World war 1 (July 28, 1914 – Nov 11, 1918) The war usually termed as the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that persists from 1914 to 1918. All the world’s economic great powers were involved in two opposing alliances. The two alliances are: 1) … Read more
How to write a history essay
History essays focus more on demonstrating that you have an understanding of the issues to a set question than to finding the correct answer to the set question.
It is rather difficult to arrive at a definite answer with most historical problems. In general for each historical question there will be a body of evidence that will be relevant to it. This body of evidence typically will explain about the events and phenomena under discussion. A good answer will need to bring together all of this evidence and explain why particular items have been dismissed as having no bearing on the problem.
Analyse the Question
You must have a thorough understanding of the question by identifying the exact nature of the question; what are you being asked, this will help in giving an adequate answer that is the kind of information you will need to answer the question. Historical essays do not involve simply reporting information, rather it requires you to understand the question and make a judgment on the issue. Paying keen attention to keywords in the question is also important; words such as: discuss, explain, compare, evaluate and so on.
Here we explain how to write a history essay and expand on some of the keywords that are so important to understand:
‘Explain’ and ‘why’ questions:
These type of questions demand a list of reasons or one big reason; each reason will have to be explained – that is, clarified, expanded upon, and illustrated.
This is to break-down something. To determine the nature and relationship of the parts of; say “how” or “why” something happened. This could be likened to “cause and effect”.
‘Assess’ and ‘evaluate’:
This is how true or false something is. To judge value of its character; this should be supported by explanations and evidence. Evaluate discuss merits and de-merits, it is giving an opinion regarding the value of it.
This demands the purpose of identifying similarities and differences. When the question calls for comparisons, they expect you to include differences as well. One way of going about such an essay would be to distinguish areas of similarity and differences; furthermore give a section in which you would assess the degree of similarity and reach a sub-conclusion.
Give an account of; tell about; give a word picture of.
Show the different sides of, and argue from various points of views.
Make known in detail, to make clear or plain.
This requires you to identify the function of some group or institution within some specific system. This is the functionalist approach. The subject of the question is the ‘Y’ rather than the ‘X’ element. This question requires a discussion of the system as a whole and the consideration of alternative explanations of how ‘X’ worked within it.
To What Extent and In What Ways:
Involves measure of, that is, how much? For instance, Examine five spheres which cast light on the extent of Jewish influence in high medieval France: namely, their role in the commercial life of the towns, the role of Jewish banking in the agrarian economy, their influence on Christian intellectual life and so on. It has been seen that the Jews exerted a profound influence on the intellectual life of the universities but almost none on that of the established monastic orders.
In what ways should show how an event or condition relates to another. Understand what was done and what was left to be done. In this you should expect counter-arguments, did an event or condition relate to another?
Knowing how to write a history essay is not just about knowing facts and figures. It’s also about how you structure your writing so it flows.
It is usually one paragraph and its purpose is to clearly set out the problem to be discussed in the paper, define key terms that will be used, outline the structure of the argument and to clearly state the thesis. The thesis statement is the version of your argument. The thesis thus presents new information to your reader, however, for it to be a good thesis it will require you to introduce the concepts in it before presenting the thesis itself. That is the task of the introductory paragraph and that’s how the thesis fits in the introductory paragraph.
For instance, “The nature of slave rights had a dual character. On the one hand, in order to maintain the total dominance of the white master class, the law denied any rights to slaves. Publicly, the slave was merely property, and not human at all. Yet the personal records of many planters suggest that slaves often proved able to demand customary “rights” from their masters. In the privacy of the master-slave relationship, the black man did indeed have rights which the white man was bound to respect, on pain of losing his labor or subjecting himself to violence. This conflict between slaves’ lack of “public” rights and masters’ “private” acknowledgment of slaves’ rights undermined planters’ informal rule and permitted slaves a degree of freedom within an oppressive system.” The thesis is clearly structured between two concepts public and private rights which are included into the thesis. This gives the reader a clear idea of what the paper will need to argue to prove its thesis.
You need an organising scheme for your paper, which most often will be suggested by your thesis. Let’s take this thesis: “In the 1950s, American auto workers developed their identities as laborers in the home as well as the workplace.” This thesis suggests a structure: at the very least, you will have to divide things up into “home” and “workplace.” The general flow in the body is from the general to the specific. Start with general statements, such as “Federal policy towards native peoples aimed at either assimilating Indians or exterminating them.” Then move on to specific statements which support your general statement, such as “The origins of the policy of assimilation can be traced back to Puritan missionaries of the 1650s.”
The use of paragraphs is essential and must start with a topic sentence. Each paragraph should have a main point with a small argument to support the paragraph. The paragraphs of the paper must flow from one idea to the next. Arguing in the body need not be heated emotions and raised voices rather it should be intended to convince the reader through reason. One must anticipate counter-arguments which one can either: refute by proving it is false, as in, “While the federal census of 1890 seems to suggest an increase in black mortality, that census was infamous for recording specious data”. Or you may accept certain true statements which refute your argument but explain why they do not harm your arguments, as in, “It was indeed true that Latino youth were incarcerated at a rate three to four times greater than Anglo youth, yet this may suggest the iniquitous workings of the local justice system rather than a Latino propensity towards crime.”
This kind of arguing in the body will give more credibility to the paper and make it more persuasive.
This usually gives a brief explanation on your thesis, and pulls all your arguments together. The conclusion should show why the argument is important in the bigger picture of things, or suggest areas for further research. Or it could raise a bigger question.
We hope you gained a lot from reading our free ‘how to write a history essay’ guide.