How to Start a History Essay
Learning how to start a history essay would sound hard at first, but you can eventually be successful at it by going through the task step by step. The first thing to do would have to be gathering historical information and details that will prove vital in presenting an essay that is intelligent and cohesive.
Here are the steps on how to start a history essay:
- Do your research well. Historical events, especially the famous ones, may have been written a thousand times, but it would not mean that some fresh insight cannot be added to it. Adding other ideas gleaned from other essays can give a wealth of sources to the essay.
- Stick to the topic and do not deviate from it. A historical essay tells something about a certain event and asks questions about a subject or issue. It is not a descriptive essay as it mainly focuses on a specific event.
- Major details should always be a part of a history essay. Details should cover important information about who was involved, what happened, how long the event lasted, how and why it was allowed to happen, and why it is an important historical moment.
- Personal opinions should not be voiced over a historical essay. The essay should present accurate information about its impact on history and the issues involved. There will be some special instructions that may call for personal feelings but basically, the focus would deal with the way events unfolded truthfully.
- The essay must be written in chronological order, as events happened. Going back and forth along the timeline involved in the events will make the essay look muddled and confused, which could even make one forget to include an important fact or date. An essay that is written in chronological order will make it look well-researched, cohesive and organized.
- Use past tense when writing as the event is already historical.
- Use full names when writing a history essay. The full name of the historical figure must be written in full the first time he/she is mentioned; and just the last name when it is used again later on.
Patrick Karl O’Brien is a British academic and historian. He is currently professor emeritus of global economic history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Read his book review: An Engagement with Postmodern Foes, Literary Theorists and Friends on the Borders with History.