How to Write History Essays

Written by
Eun Rockwell
August 15, 2022 7 min read

How to write history essays is a question that students have asked for many years. And many students mistakenly believe that it is a very difficult task.

However, it is not as difficult as it seems. There are some basic steps that you can follow to make sure that your essay is well-written and informative.

Once you've mastered the basics of writing a history essay, you will be surprised just how easy it is. In this article, we will discuss the different aspects of writing a history essay and what makes good historical writing.

We will also provide steps in preparing a history essay and Dos and Don'ts in history essay writing. So, if you are looking to write a great history essay, read on!

What is History Essay?

Many students who ask us; can you write my essay in most cases don't really understand what is needed in writing this type of essay. Now, a history essay is a piece of written work that focuses on the user's historical perspective.

The purpose of a history essay is to communicate the writer's knowledge about a specific event, person, or place in history. A history essay can be either an argumentative essay or a descriptive essay.

An argumentative essay presents an argument for or against a specific claim, while a descriptive essay provides a detailed description of one particular event, person, or place.

History Essay: Sources to Use

All our history essay writers acknowledge that a thorough history essay is as good as its sources. This means that the credibility and validity of your essay will be judged not only on the strength of your argument but also on the quality and relevancy of your sources.

If you can back up your argument with credible sources, your reader will be more likely to take your argument seriously. There are two sources you can use in your history essay; primary and secondary sources. We explain each of them below;

Primary sources

These are first-hand accounts of an event that was created at the time the event took place. This can include letters, diary entries, speeches, and other documents.

Using primary sources is important because it allows you to see the event from the perspective of someone who was actually there. This can give you a better understanding of what happened and why.

Secondary sources

These are interpretations of primary sources. This can include books, articles, and other works that analyze and discuss primary sources.

Using secondary sources is important because it allows you to see how historians have interpreted the primary sources. This can give you a different perspective on the event and help you form your own opinion.

History Essay Formats

History essays have two common formats: the chronological format and the thematic format. The chronological format is where you arrange your essay in chronological order.

This means that you will start with the earliest event and end with the most recent event. The thematic format is where you arrange your essay around a specific theme.

For example, you could write about the causes of the American Civil War or the impact of the Industrial Revolution.

Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages. The chronological format is good for giving an overview of a specific time period.

The thematic format is good for discussing specific events in more depth. Ultimately, the format you choose will depend on your preference and your assignment's requirements.

How to Choose History Essay Topics

A good history essay should be challenging and encourage you to critically engage with the material. However, it should also be accessible enough that you can confidently approach the task without feeling overwhelmed.

The best way to find a good balance is to choose a specific and manageable topic. For example, rather than writing an essay on the entire history of the United States, you could write about the impact of the Industrial Revolution on American society.

This narrow focus will allow you to really delve into the details and explore different aspects of the topic in depth. When choosing a topic, it is also important to consider available resources.

There is no point in choosing a topic so obscure that there is almost no material to work with. Choosing a good topic for your history essay is an important first step in ensuring you get a great grade.

With a little planning, you can set yourself up for success. Below are some history essay topic examples you may want to consider:

  • How did the Industrial Revolution change American society?
  • What were the causes of the American Civil War?
  • What was the impact of World War II on American society?
  • The rise of the civil rights movement in the United States.
  • The history of immigration in the United States.

Read more on: How to Write an Essay on War

History Essay Outline

A good history essay should have a clear and concise structure. By following an outline, you can ensure that your essay is well-organized and flows smoothly.

An essay's basic structure is composed of three parts:

  • The introduction
  • Body paragraphs, and
  • The conclusion.

The introduction should give an overview of the main points of your essay. It should also introduce the reader to the main historical characters and events you will discuss.

The body paragraphs are where you will develop your argument and support your thesis statement. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point.

The conclusion should summarize your main points and briefly restate your thesis statement. Below is a simplified guide on how to go about these different parts of your essay:

How to Start a Strong History Essay

The best way to start a history essay is to first understand the question that has been asked. Once you clearly understand what is being asked, you can begin to formulate your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement is the central argument of your essay. It should be concise and clear and state your position on the topic.

Once you have a thesis statement, you can begin to outline your essay. Begin by brainstorming ideas and organizing them into main points.

These main points will form the body paragraphs of your essay. As you brainstorm, you may also want to consider the resources that are available to you.

Do you have access to primary sources? What about secondary sources? By considering your resources, you can start to narrow down your focus and choose a specific angle to approach the topic.

How to Write Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point. This point should be directly related to your thesis statement.

As you write each body paragraph, you will want to provide evidence to support your main point. This evidence can come in the form of quotes from historical texts, statistics, or data.

When using evidence, it is important to be sure to cite your sources. This will show that you have done your research and are familiar with the material.

It is also important to explain how this evidence supports your main point. This will help solidify your argument and ensure your reader understands the connection between the evidence and your thesis.

How to Write a Conclusion

The conclusion of your essay should briefly sum up your main points and restate your thesis statement. You may also want to briefly discuss the implications of your argument. What does your argument mean for the larger history of the topic?

By considering the implications of your argument, you can show that you have thought critically about the topic and made a well-reasoned argument.

Steps in Preparing a Historical Essay

  1. Choose a topic
  2. Research your topic
  3. Develop a thesis statement
  4. Outline your essay
  5. Write your essay
  6. Edit and proofread your essay

Dos and Don'ts in History Essay Writing


  • Do narrow down your focus to a specific time period, event, or individual
  • Do use primary and secondary sources to support your argument
  • Do cite your sources using proper MLA or APA format


  • Don't choose a topic that is too broad
  • Don't rely solely on secondary sources
  • Don't plagiarize your sources


What tense should a history essay be written in?

Generally, history essays are written in the past tense. This tense is used to describe events that have already happened.

What makes good historical writing?

Good historical writing is clear, concise, and well-organized arguments supported by evidences.

How many paragraphs should a history essay have?

There is no set number of paragraphs for a history essay. However, most essays will typically have 3-5 body paragraphs.


Writing a good history essay doesn't have to cause so much stress. Follow the steps outlined above to plan and write a well-organized essay that packs a punch.

If you still struggle to come up with a good paper, perhaps buying an essay at our service could save you.

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