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Writing Historical Essays: A Guide for Undergraduates

❶How has television replaced the monumental statues of ancient Roman leaders? It is easy to end up with an essay that reads as a more or less disconnected series of points, rather than a fully developed and connected argument.

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A Catalyst in Anti-Colonial Sentiment. A Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine: Charles Banks of Mississippi. A Commentary on "Death So Noble". A Comparison of Great Women Leaders. A Consise History Of Germany.

A Convenience, Not A Necessity. A Corps for All Times. A Court of Action. A Day in Ancient Rome. A Disintegrated Market Structure. A Fall From Glory: The Decline of the Russian Navy. A Few Greek Gods. A Flag for Canada. A Historic Overview of the French Revolution. A History of English Common Law. A History of Rap and Hip Hop. A Life That Is. A Look At Poetry. If you have difficulty locating information, seek advice from your teacher or someone you trust. All good history essays have a clear and strong contention.

A contention is the main idea or argument of your essay. It serves both as an answer to the question and the focal point of your writing. Ideally, you should be able to express your contention as a single sentence. For example, the following contention might form the basis of an essay question on the rise of the Nazis:.

At some point in your research, you should begin thinking about a contention for your essay. Remember, you should be able to express it briefly as if addressing the essay question in a single sentence, or summing up in a debate. It should sound like the voice of someone well informed about the subject and confident about their answer. Once most of your research is complete and you have a strong contention, start jotting down a possible essay structure.

This need not be complicated, a few lines or dot points is ample. Every essay must have an introduction, a body of several paragraphs and a conclusion. Your paragraphs should be well organised and follow a logical sequence. You can organise paragraphs in two ways: Every paragraph should be clearly signposted in the topic sentence. Once you have a plan, start drafting your essay. Write a compelling introduction. Many consider the introduction to be the most important part of an essay.

The introduction is important for several reasons. It is where you begin to signpost the direction your essay will take. Aim for an introduction that is clear, confident and punchy. Get straight to the point — do not waste time with a rambling or storytelling introduction. Many history students fall into the trap of writing short paragraphs, sometimes containing as little as one or two sentences.

This sentence introduces the paragraph topic and briefly explains its significance to the question and your contention. Good paragraphs also contain thorough explanations, some analysis and evidence, perhaps a quotation or two. Think of the first or "preliminary" draft as a detailed outline. Establish your thesis and see how it looks in writing. Is it too general or specific?

Does it address the questions asked by the instructor? Because the thesis is so critical, small changes in it will have a big impact. Don't be afraid to refine it as often as necessary as you continue reading and writing. Now you have completed your draft. Return to your introduction.

Is the thesis clearly stated? Have you established the argument and evidence you will present? Rephrase your thesis if necessary. You may not even be clear about the final thesis until you have written much of the paper itself and seen how the argument holds together.

Add examples or delete non-relevant materials and make sure paragraphs connect with transitions and topic sentences. Some classes, such as the History Seminar, have students critique each others' research drafts, often several times. Such exercises are invaluable opportunities to learn how other people read you, and how to be fair, judicious, and helpful in your own critiques.

Whenever possible try to have someone else read your work and comment on it. Finally, check for sense, grammar, spelling, and mechanical and typographical errors. Show respect for your reader by not making him or her wade through a sloppy manuscript.

Details may not make or break a work, but they make a definite impression about how much you care. Every professor or instructor has his or her own standards for excellent, good, average, and unacceptable work. A common grading misunderstanding arises from a student belief that answering a question "correctly" in essay form means an automatic "A. This is only "competent" work. How well you write is what makes the difference. Do you detail your arguments, define terms, make logical connections, expand points, develop ideas, read sources in original and imaginative ways?

The difference between competent and excellent work is difficult to define. Read your own work critically. Are you making the easy points most students would make? Are you really citing and examining the texts? Have you developed original interpretations?

Have you given careful thought to argument and presentation, and the logic of your conclusions? Excellent work begins when you challenge yourself. Students are sometimes overwhelmed when asked to produce original, critical work. What could they say which has not already been said by an expert? No one asks you to be an expert. Your originality lies in your talent as a critical reader and a thoughtful writer.

Whether you are studying many sources for a research paper or a few passages from one text for a book review, what matters is how you select, present, and interpret materials. You must at all costs avoid plagiarism, which is a crime and means automatic failure. Plagiarism means taking credit for work which is not your own, and can involve: Pay attention to point 1: Points are obvious cases of cheating. A strict definition of plagiarism is as follows:. Although it is generally recognized that everything an individual has thought has probably been influenced to some degree by the previously expressed thoughts and actions of others, such influences are general.

Plagiarism involves the deliberate taking of specific words and ideas of others without proper acknowledgment. Butters and George D. Duke University Department of English, , p.

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Essay about History Culminating Assignment: Four Events in History - Vimy Ridge s The Battle of Vimy Ridge is Canada’s most celebrated battle of World .

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History is naught but stories, changed and molded to fit the current society, which are passed down through generations. The study of history is not the answer, but the means of finding the answer for our times. The most important object to historians and their field of study are facts.

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First of all we ought to ask, What constitutes a good history essay? Probably no two people will completely agree, if only for the very good reason that quality is in the eye – and reflects the intellectual state – of the reader. What is history? Essay. What is history? History is much more than just past events. History is all things that man knows about, that has been recorded. It is past events, past people, and everything that is been recorded that we know to this day. John F. Kennedy said “History is a relentless master.

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Search to find a specific history essay or browse from the list below: Impact of the Islamic Invasion on Spain The history of Spain reflects the effect of certain cultures and religions on Spanish population, . LARGEST Free History Essays Database: Over , History Essays, History Term Papers, History Research Paper, Book Reports. ESSAYS, term and research papers available for UNLIMITED access.