History essay writing is, in fact, no different from any other in its structure and purpose. You are to divide your paper into three parts – introduction, main body and conclusions – make statements and then provide evidence to support them. However, there is a peculiarity – while in argumentative papers you usually make a single thesis in the beginning, History papers usually ask you to follow the development of a certain event. For instance, reasons and initial conditions of the French Revolution. In this case your thesis will expand to several introductory paragraphs and lose its contradictory nature.
Before you start working on your History essay, make sure you understand the general concept, which is to answer your question from the Historical point of view. Read and re-read the statement you have to respond to, break it into several aspects (optionally), analyze and scrutinize, and then make a quick draft of what you will be covering. A distinctive feature of History papers is that the answer is never on the surface, even if it seems so. You are obliged to think, then think again and think little more in the end. The event you are writing about must always be considered in a wider context – otherwise you won’t be able to find out its causes and effects. For instance, if you are writing about the French Revolution, its main reason is not ‘because people got exhausted from bad life conditions’, but rather because capitalism was on its way and pressing. To understand this, you would have to start looking long before 1789.
Introductory paragraph. Your introduction does not necessarily have to be witty or draw attention at once. Instead, it has to be strong and comprehensive. This is how you make your reader keep going. In the introductory paragraph, you draft out what you will elaborate on in the main body. You don’t have enough space to provide detail, so you only make a quick doodle. It will show your reader what aspects you extracted and accentuated and in fact, this is the part where he will make his opinion about your paper in general. Exceptions do happen, but it is very, VERY difficult to write that strong a main body that will change someone’s impression after a clumsy intro.
Main body. This is the place to dress your main ideas in words. As usual, a single paragraph will address a single issue and start with a summarizing sentence. Don’t make a common mistake – look for evidence in the history, rather than in opinions of historians. The value of your paper is defined by how much thought you put in it, not how many specialists you cited. Carefully explain your main points and make sure you support them with relevant historical facts.
Conclusions. This is the part to summarize what has been already said. Do not introduce any new points or evidence here. Also, do not simply restate the points. Instead you have to present them in the processed form after all the facts were considered. Again, make sure you stuck to the point. This is when any deviations in thought will be quite obvious. In case you found some, do not hesitate to fix it. Even rewriting the entire paper might be an option, as it is better to pay more efforts and spend more time working on it, then submitting a mediocre paper.
You don’t have to invent a bicycle all over again. Most likely what you are writing about has already been researched many times. However, your professor wants you to show your abilities of Historical research, so make sure your input in this paper is greater than someone else’s, even if this someone is a very respected specialist.