How To Write A Decent History Essay

Too often, today, people do not realize how painstakingly easy and tediously hard it is to actually write an essay. What is an essay in the first place?

During the Enlightenment in Europe essays were being spilled out as new ideas and thoughts were taking form in the minds of the famous “philosophes”. Yeah, but what is an essay’s purpose?

An essay is meant to prove something, and to prove it well and then rebuff the counter-arguments.Okay? Well I got to show you an example, rather, the format of an essay.

Please keep in mind that I simplified the topic and it is all made up!

Format of an Essay:


William Frederick III’s cat was orange because current historiography proves this. This is evidenced by the fact that its fur was orange, people referred to it as an orange cat, and there is evidence that William painted its fur orange in its later years. This is important because.. ( always refer to the “so what?”)

So basically the cat was orange because of a, b, and c. This is important because…

In your thesis make sure you talk about why it was important that Frederick’s cat was orange, and more importantly how it relates in the broader context of history.

Yet, do not forget to make William and his cat the subjects of your essay. Also try to make your essay as thoughtful as possible, try to dwell into analysis rather than stating facts and figures. Always talk about why it was important, and why it might still be.

Body (Proof)

In your body paragraph make sure the first and second sentences always refer back to the thesis. And make sure you infuse evidence that support your starting sentences, and then analyze it, and come back to why this is important!

Never make your body paragraphs more than 5-6 sentences. End your body paragraphs with a small conclusion and a transition that leads to the next paragraph.

Example: William Frederick’s cat had orange fur. This is shown by the following sources… In fact, this historian talks about this and here is why he is right. On the other hand, this is why he is wrong. The reason the fact that the cat was orange is because it affected Frederick’s ability to concentrate which led other court problems. This can be seen by this event and that event. Overall, the cat was ultimately orange as seen, yet this was not the only reason why it was orange as people also refereed to it as the orange cat.

Next Paragraph: Many people on the court refer to Fredrick’s cat as orange, which makes it clear that it probably was orange.

See how I transitioned from one paragraph to the other, and how simply i stuck to my thesis? Also i provided evidence an a bit of analysis.

Body(So What+ Counter Argument)

It is good to bring counter arguments to your essay and prove them wrong. For example Smith might have dedicated his life to writing a 2 volume book on why the cat is blue. Your job is to prove Smith wrong, because of evidence and analysis to the contrary. This will make your argument more valid.

After you have proved that William Frederick’s cat was orange. Try to answer the “so what” question even more in depth.

The fact that Frederick’s cat was orange is important because…

It affected these events

It killed these people

It led to the changing themes of broader history and sociology. You can even talk about how current historiography is lacking in the study of Fredrick’s cat.

Conclusion(Restate the Thesis)

Do not get fancy in your conclusion just restate thesis and try to add what has been learned over the course of the essay.


Write concisely.

Be straight to the point but also analyze history and people.

Concentrate on people rather than abstract notions and terms.

Be bold, but not too bold. And Take Risks!

It is better to write clearly than use long words so you can impress.

Be fair and balanced, but not overly objective.



3 thoughts on “How To Write A Decent History Essay

  1. I really enjoyed this article on essay writing because the style was hilarious. So much of the information out there about essay writing is boring and it sounds like a robot wrote it.

    This is why so many people can’t write essays – the fun has all been sapped out. Thanks for an entertaining read.


  2. I believe everything said made a great deal of
    sense. But, what about this? what if you were to write a
    killer title? I am not saying your content isn’t solid., however what if you added something that makes people desire more? I mean How To Write A Good History Essay (In My Opinion) | The Art of Polemics is kinda boring. You ought to glance at Yahoo’s home page and
    watch how they create article headlines to grab viewers to click.
    You might try adding a video or a related pic or two to grab
    readers excited about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make your posts a little livelier.


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