How to Write a History Essay

posted by Laura Callisen 15 Nov 2023
Table of contents:

When faced with the need to hire professionals who know how to write a history essay, numerous students feel self-conscious. They try to explain what motivated them to seek help, saying, “I need you to write my essays for me because I have other engagements, and I lack time to do homework myself.” Others cite bad health, burnout syndrome, and multiple other reasons. You don’t need to justify your wish to receive assistance since our purpose as a professional writing company lies in helping students who need it, but if you can’t shake off an uncomfortable feeling, just learn how to write history papers quickly! Check the guide our best academicians developed. It offers comprehensive explanations, examples, and tips that will instill knowledge into you immediately.

What Is a History Essay and Which Elements Does It Consist Of?

The first important question that requires a clear answer concerns the definition of a history paper. What is it? It’s an essay that explores a historical period, event, object, or person by relying on factual documentation and drawing meaningful connections between elements to pursue historical truth. Here are the components that every such essay must have:

  • Structural elements. How to start a history essay? The obvious answer is with the introduction. Like other academic papers, your essay should have an intro, body, and conclusion: each paragraph should be clearly defined and formatted, and it mustn’t exceed 200 words. Don’t make them too short either: if you’re a college student, write at least five sentences per paragraph. The introduction always comes with the thesis — we’ll discuss it separately because it is a crucial part many students constantly get wrong. The body should present and develop your arguments and findings: start each paragraph with an opening line that refers to the thesis and finish it with a closing line that works as a summary. The conclusion should repeat and conclude your key findings neatly without discussing new information.
  • Thesis. Imagine we’re writing a paper exploring a pirate captain named Tobias and his impact on piracy. A good history essay example of a thesis would be this: “During his years of operations in the sea, Captain Tobias became known as a unique pirate who stole the goods yet never killed anyone unless necessary, which made him a pariah among the pirates and noblemen alike.” This thesis summarizes the entire point of our paper: it names a person we’re investigating, mentions who he was and what he was known for, and makes a claim that we’ll have to prove. Create your model based on ours. Don’t use additional phrases like “This paper is researching…” — you will only lose points. Start with the claim directly.
  • Thesis & Evidence. Evidence is an essential component of every history paper format. It must work directly with the thesis, so we mentioned them here. As you can see from the example of our thesis above, it’s a wholesome claim, but it means nothing without proof. Maybe Captain Tobias doesn’t exist; maybe there were no pirates who refused to kill people they stole from in history. The only way to discover is by researching, finding sources, and citing them next to each piece of knowledge. This is how historical papers function: students must use more academic articles or books than usual to substantiate their words. Every part of the thesis must be accompanied by evidence in the body.  
  • Nuances of Historical Writing. Typical history essay writing has some unique elements that distinguish it from similar assignments. Sometimes they make students order academic ghostwriting because keeping track of them all is difficult. We talked about using more sources; now, let’s discuss chronology. You are not writing a fictional story or analyzing a case study that you could approach from different angles. History essays require writers to follow chronological order. Begin from start to finish; present dates and facts, then support them with credible sources. Avoid generalizations because history requires a more precise approach, and remember that you are viewing events from your subjective modern perspective. Rules that might horrify you were acceptable in the period you’re writing about; criminal behavior was a norm back then. Avoid sounding judgmental or disapproving. Maintain an objective tone of voice.   

Preparing Essays about History: Steps That’ll Lead You to Success

We will outline all the steps students should cover while writing a great history essay. Follow them one by one without missing any, and there’s a good chance you won’t face any obstacles.

Step 1: Understand Your Central Question

What is your prompt? Your professor had to give you one. Read it carefully, paying attention to every moment. Do you have to look for history essay topics, or did the professor tell you what to explore? What type of paper should it be: an opinion piece, critique, pure research, informative or argumentative essay? Make certain you understand it — otherwise, everything you work on might turn out to be wrong. When it comes to the topic, prepare keywords in advance. They’ll guide you through the next steps.

Step 2: Gather Valuable Materials

Reading comes next. How to write a history thesis without knowing what the goal of your essay is? That’s right, you cannot do that. Review numerous articles or books related to your topic first; read their abstracts or summaries to understand whether this source could be useful in your writing, and make a final selection. Since your subject is history, it doesn’t matter how old your articles and books are. They can even come from the 80s or earlier — the important aspect is choosing something credible. You won’t want to cite some guy who’s not a historian and never had access to original materials.

Step 3: Prepare and create the First Draft

This stage is the longest, but it leads straight to effective results. Cover these four separate steps:

  1. Outline. Develop a history essay outline once you have sources and some writing ideas. It could have full sentences describing each section or separate phrases reflecting your ideas in general. The size does not matter; you need something to guide you when the writing process begins. Here are some tips: write your thesis completely as it lists all key ideas from your future paper. Afterward, decide which ideas you’ll discuss in the first, second, and other body paragraphs. Restate your thesis for conclusion and consider your outline ready!
  2. Start writing: watch the order. How to write a history paper? Follow your outline. Be attentive to how you construct every paragraph. Remember our tips about sizes: the length of the introduction and conclusion must range between 5-10% of content; if a paragraph gets longer than 200 words, break it into two parts. Analyze event after event chronologically, as this is the preferred model for historians. Make certain the sequence of your points in the body corresponds to them in a thesis. Approximate thesis in our history paper outline mentioned Captain Tobias, who stole but never killed people, and whose approach to piracy turned him into a pariah. Our thesis has three major points, meaning we’d have three body paragraphs. The first would describe Captain Tobias in general, including his years of pirating; the second paragraph would tackle his philosophy of stealing, not killing, and the third would prove that this approach made other people reject him. Maintain clear order in your essay as well.
  3. Develop logical transitions. A good history essay writer must remember transitions. Hopefully, you remember the opening and closing sentences for the body paragraphs. Closing sentences have the most vivid transitions. They should lead from one paragraph to another without rambling or making sudden, jarring leaps. Some examples: our first body paragraph, which discussed Captain Tobias and his work overall, could end with this sentence: “In 15 years he spent wandering the seas, Captain Tobias developed a unique philosophy that differentiated him from most other pirates.” The first half of this sentence comes from the first part of our history essays online: we repeat the name and point out how many years Tobias spent at the sea. The second half leads toward the next paragraph, teasing about his special philosophy but not giving any details. This is a smooth transition that unites both paragraphs. Transitions between ideas should also be logical: present a claim, cite, and explain it.
  4. Build your conclusion meticulously. We approached the final point of this stage: how to write a history essay conclusion? On the one hand, this paragraph is the least important. It is nothing new — its only goal is to repeat what writers already explored. But there is an order you should stick to, plus an important nuance you might not know about. Start the conclusion by restating your thesis: use other words instead of copying it directly. Elaborate on the major points, then clarify why your work is important. Make the last sentence powerful, as your readers should leave with the best possible impression.

Step 4: More Drafts and The Final Version

Students should create as many drafts of history essays as they consider necessary. Some avoid drafts entirely: they write one paper, and that’s it. It could work for more experienced and professional writers, but you'd better start small if you are neither. Craft the first draft; read it, find weaknesses, and correct them for the next version. Add more details, strengthen arguments that might fall short otherwise, and remove repetitions or weak parts. Once you’re ready and your essay feels complete, format it properly. You could use APA paper writing services for this or follow a template your college provided. Create a history paper title page; write down your name, subject, and date; choose the correct margins; add italics or letters in bold, etc. Do a final round of editing, and your work is done!

How Professors Grade Papers

Like most students, you probably wonder how your teacher will grade your paper. No one can tell because everyone has their evaluation criteria, but a typical assessment focuses on several specific factors. Follow a standard format for history paper that we shared above. Develop an intriguing introduction, strong thesis, compelling body, and mesmerizing conclusion. Choose academic sources and use them thoroughly, citing every claim that isn’t a part of people’s general knowledge. Make strong links plus transitions. Maintain logical and chronological order, use rich academic language, and ascertain that your essay has no plagiarism. Try plagiarism checkers: they’ll show your originality rate. Remember that direct quotes shouldn’t comprise more than 10% of your content.
Some practical notes to go with our guide: check professional history essays examples. We have plenty of them on our website in the form of samples. Read them for ideas and practical tips — they are free. Employ paper writers for hire if you’re stuck or cannot finish your assignment by yourself. Keep several copies of your work in different places because nothing is worse than losing something you’ve spent so much effort on.

Apply Your Theoretical Knowledge to Practical Historical Writing

You know how to start a history essay introduction now; you understand what to do in a body and conclusion. Turn this knowledge into fuel for creating your excellent paper. Consult useful sources, remember academic tips, and ask for help if needed. We’re there for every student regardless of their time zone — start a chat and share your story with us. 

Laura Callisen

Blog writer for GrabMyEssay


Hello there! I am Laura Callisen, and I fancy myself to be a modern “Renaissance person.” I suppose my 30-something self began my incredible journey after having been born in Stavanger, Norway and then immigrating to the U.S. (Utah, actually) at the age of 5. I am certain that this change was more of a cultural “shock” for my parents than for me, because I quickly mastered the language and was clever enough to “play the game” of public education in America. After graduating from Skyline High School, where I spent two years as the school newspaper editor, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of Utah was a natural culmination of my love for writing.

My inclination to be socially conscious led me to lots of community outreach and volunteering during my college years, especially in the areas of educational and housing improvement for the poor and a number of environmental crusades. My passion for philosophy and travel have now taken over, and I am enthralled with the widely varied value systems of all cultures in which I can immerse myself, if only temporarily. My life as a freelance writer allows a freedom I never want to sacrifice for a stuffy office!

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