A history essay is an academic paper regarding some history issue. The definition of history essay doesn’t indicate the type or form of the essay, but rather its thematic direction. You should take into account that history essay is an academic writing that requires a neutral scientific tone. To keep a line with these terms, stay scrupulous in the choosing of the sources for your work and double-check the citations.
1) Foremost, you need to carefully evaluate your topic. There are four basic types of history essays. In the first case, the topic already contains a question. For example, “How the Prohibition Affected the U.S. Economy in the Late 20s?” In the second case, it suggests you a research object. Something like “Eating Habits of English Aristocrats in the Second Half of the 17th Century”. The third option is a comparative essay topic, which requires comparison of the two historical phenomena. Example: “Compare the civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt with the Indus Valley civilization”. Thematic essay of the fourth type questions the consequences or the causes of some event: “Indicate the effects of the Whiskey Rebellion (1794)” For the first topic type, your essay will have an expository form. For the second, you write the informative essay. The best essay type to unfold the third topic is a compare-and-contrast essay. For the fourth – cause-and-effect essay format.
2) Before you start going deep into your subject, clarify the definitions of the topic key terms. The most common mistake students make is writing off the topic, so make sure you understand the question correctly.
3) Divide the general question into the sub-questions. Consider them precisely; define the sources for the each of them.
When figuring out the standpoints of your topic, you can proceed to the outline drawing. Notice that the precise structure of the history essay depends on the type of an essay you need to write (expository, informative, comparative, or cause-and-effect essay).
In general, your essay will have a three-part structure:
Since the trickiest part of the history essay preparation is a correct estimation of the topic question, let’s take a look at the steps of the topic analysis you need follow. For example, you have a topic “Cuisine and eating habits of English aristocrats in the second half of the 17th century”. Your algorithm is following:
As you topic suggests, you focus on the food habits of the aristocrats, Besides, it is easier to find the proper sources.
What was the situation in England in the second half of the 17th century (in the aspects of the economy, foreign policy, and development of trade routes)?
You can appeal to the two most famous diaries of the time that belong to John Evelyn (1640-1706) and Samuel Pepys (1660-1669). Along with historical events, these scripts describe daily routine, including food habits and even recipes (Pepys).
This is kind of topic corresponds with the key concepts 4.1 and 4.2 of the AP world history questions (the aspect of the development of trade relationships with state-neighbors and development of food industry within a country).
Got the idea?
The success of your essay is measured by how well you are prepared. The key element here is to read the examples of the well-written history essays. So don’t forget to look up for the examples in the StudentShare database!