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History Essay: How to Tackle Challenges during Its Writing

April 16, 2021

History always requires a precise understanding of historical events and matters. You need to keep in your memory a lot of dates, names, descriptions of events, and similar information in any case. It is necessary to understand the essence of any certain event or process before starting writing an essay about that. But, sometimes, the writing process itself may help you with forming this understanding. You can even make this process not boring. Do you want to find out how to do that? We have useful tips and strategies to follow.

What is a Historical Essay?

A historical essay is a short piece of writing where an author presents an interpretation of certain historical facts, events, and actions of historical personalities. Such interpretation should be based on certain pieces of evidence and nearly always reflects an author’s personal attitude. This may sound too complex, but there are things that can help you cope with your task simply. Let’s start with identifying its main purpose first. 

About the Main Goal of the History Essay Writing

Before starting any writing you need to understand its main goal. When we speak about a historical essay, we mean that a paper should be related to a comprehensive examination of any historical event or the role of a personality. You need to identify your own attitude to a certain event or personality. 

But, that important point here is not living in the past. You need to think about the main lessons you can take from a certain event or personal experience.

To realize this goal really well, you need to subdivide the main purpose into three main purposes. First of all, you should review all historical backgrounds of the event or actions of the personality comprehensively. This is required to form a more or less clear picture of such. Second, you should formulate your own attitude towards this subject matter.

Third, you should think about how this experience can be useful for current events or personalities. If we speak about personalities, you should avoid being judgmental about them – speak about actions only.

How to Prepare and Write a Good Historical Essay?

To realize all three purposes mentioned above, you need to take enough time for preparing and drafting an essay. So, what are the main points to consider here?

Preparation: Questions to Answer

It is hard to be 100% objective and impartial when considering certain historical events or personalities as we simply didn’t observe all that. Still, in most cases, we have enough documents and other historical evidence to serve as a background for historical investigations, research, and writing.

When you process all such sources, there are simple questions to ask yourself and write down the answers.

What?

  • What kind of event had to happen?
  • What were the major changes after such an event?
  • What were the impacts of such an event and its impact on local, national, and global levels?
  • What were the main lessons learned?

Who?

  • Who made a major contribution to the events?
  • Who fought for and against during this event?
  • Who lost and gained during that event?
  • Who enjoys advantages from this event even nowadays (if any)?

Why?

  • Why did this person appear or even occurred?
  • Why did people support that person/event?
  • Why did people oppose that person/event?

When addressing these questions, you should assess a certain impact a historical event or personality had. Your own analysis is strongly encouraged here. You should always consider a historical, social, and any other background that may be relevant to a situation.

Making Your Argument

As an argument, we usually call a thesis statement. This is a statement that reflects the essence of the historical event or personality analysis, is clear and comprehensive. While summarizing and crafting your statement, you should consider these points:

  • Your thesis should be one sentence long
  • It should contain one argument only
  • Review your thesis of this is necessary while writing your paper

Outlining a Historical Essay

If you want to draft a well-structured essay, you need to make sure you have formed a good outline for that. How to do that? It is easy to complete if you follow these simple tips:

  • Take into account a background relevant to this situation/personality
  • Identify the major vocabulary and terms
  • Think about supplementary ideas that can support your principal argument
  • Make a preliminary brainstorming for each considered point

To make the outlining process far simpler and effective, you may need to take a separate paper and write down all ideas that come to your mind with regard to each and every indicated aspect. This will help you in revising this content and making a better structure for your future essay. 

Sources to Rely on

First of all, you should clearly identify your professor’s principal requirements concerning the number of sources you should use and their nature. Basically, there are primary and secondary sources. The primary ones are sources that contain first-hand information about any event, personality, and other historically-important matters. This may be any type of original document, for instance. Secondary are all other sources that contain the processed information about such events or details.

If you want to know where to look for sources, you may do this in various libraries, online web portals, books, articles, etc. if you have any doubts about whether to rely on any specific source, you may ask your professor.

What about Writing?

After you have processed all sources and create an outline for an essay, we suggest setting such aside for some time (if you have such an opportunity, of course). This timespan Is required to refresh your thoughts and come with new ideas to the subject of writing. After looking at your essay with your fresh view, you will be able to amend the basic structure and include better content. 

Introduction

The first paragraph will be your introduction. In this part, you need to introduce a topic itself. For an essay, it is admissible and even desired to start with some interesting statement or question. This will be your hook to make future readers interested in further reading. This may be statistical data or a rhetorical question.

In this way, you may even encourage yourself to revise your opinion and the results of the analysis. If you have any interesting quotations to include here, also do this for sure. Make sure the principal statement of your essay goes next without any excessive details.

After this statement, a smooth transition to the next paragraph should follow. Review this introduction, trying to assess it from your future readers’ perspective, whether it is interesting or not.

Main Body 

The main body of your essay should consist of the number of paragraphs equal to the number of supporting statements to your expressed thesis statement. Make sure you devote each and every paragraph to one idea only. 

When you write each paragraph, there could be slight variations concerning the structure and approaches. You may place your main idea at the beginning of your paragraph and expand it further. In this case, you place a statement itself, add certain pieces of evidence if this is necessary and make a transition to the next paragraph. The other approach is providing a description first and placing a conclusion at the end of the paragraph like a brief summary of the opinion.

When you write your essay’s main body, you need to make sure you strictly follow the structure of your outline and present all ideas smoothly. You need to pick the words in a manner enabling your text to be flowing.

Your body paragraph may contain explanations, discussions, and quotations. All these things are acceptable and desired to expand the main point of view.

Conclusion

If this part of your essay, place all previously-stated suggestions in a restated and condensed manner. Keep this part of your essay short in any case. Also, you may address the importance of a topic for today. Ending your conclusion with a good quote may also appear very well. 

Polishing and Editing

After you have completed your essay, take some time to look at it with your fresh view if you have such an opportunity. You need to check grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Make sure your essay is concise and free from any omissions. If you see similar phrases, remove the excessive ones. Check your text whether it contains vague words. While editing, you should pay attention to the readability of your text. Using various online free editing tools may help you with that dramatically. Still, try to rely on your own opinion and preferences in this regard.

For better polishing, you may ready-made your text aloud. This way, many deficiencies may become noticeable. It will become easier to assess your text from your future reader’s perspective. Do you have an opportunity to pass this text to somebody for review? Surely, do this. The extra feedback is always highly appreciated and desired. 

As you see, writing a historical essay is not too complex. But, if you entirely dislike the subject or simply have another thing to focus your attention on at the moment, professional writers are ready to unload you with that burdensome task. We do like writing historical essays.

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