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What does this image have to do with writing a historical essay.

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Presentation on theme: "What does this image have to do with writing a historical essay."— Presentation transcript:

1 What does this image have to do with writing a historical essay

2 Introduction R = Relating the Issue – Establish Historical content I = Issue is discussed O = Opposing views are established T = Thesis

3 How to begin? The first sentence in the first paragraph can be the most difficult to create. You may want to consider writing it last.

4 Where to go once you’ve chosen your topic. There are many different avenues one can travel in writing an historical essay. All can be effective. All require a good grasp of historical knowledge. Let’s examine some examples for the topic: Why did the U.S. enter World War I?

5 Begin with an anecdote At the June 1916 Democratic convention which met to nominate Wilson for a second term, the keynote speaker argued that it was the American tradition was to stay out of war whatever the provocation. He intended to add “but we are willing to fight if necessary,” but he was so overcome by the applause and cheering he never got around to it. Such was the mood of the American people, Wilson ended out campaigning with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” But ten months later, the United States was in. The mood had changed because….

6 Begin with a quote from a primary source “God helping her,” Woodrow Wilson said to Congress as he asked for a declaration of war against Germany in April 1917, “she can do no other.” But the US had avoided going to war from August 1914 and could have continued to do so…

7 Begin with a quote from a primary source In November 1916, Woodrow Wilson said, “If any nation now neutral should be drawn in, it would know only that it was drawn in by some force it could not resist.” Those forces were…

8 Begin with a question or series of questions outlining the sub-questions of your essay Was the United States drawn into the war by German violations of her neutrality, or was she drawn in by a combination of British propaganda and capitalist desire for profit? It would seem that the most likely answer to that question is….


10 Beginnings to avoid  In my essay I’m going to talk about how America got into the war.  Avoid using the personal pronouns: I, me, my, mine. Use “It is apparent…” “This shows that…” instead of “I think” or “in my opinion.”

11 Avoid a panoramic beginning  War has been a staple of historical writing since Homer wrote the Iliad in ancient Greece… Start with specifics which can be used to bolster your argument, not sweeping generalizations “The entry of the United States into World War I in 1917 has been the subject of a number of studies…”

12 Avoid mystery openings  The reason she did it was that at the time people had started to think that it was the right thing to do.  Who is she? What did she do? “The main reason the US entered the war in 1917 is that the Germans kept sinking her ships although America was a neutral country.”

13 Begin with a controversial statement It was NOT German violations of her neutrality that brought the United States into the war as Woodrow Wilson claimed, but rather a combination of the desire for profits by American capitalists and a very effective campaign of British propaganda in the US.

14 Begin with a significant statistic In 1916, a total of 9,129,606 people voted to re-elect Woodrow Wilson on the strength of his slogan, “He kept us out of war.” Two years later, 114,000 of them would have paid with their lives for his broken campaign promise. The minds of the American people and their President were turned around by the…

15 P E E when you write

16 PEE + L it P – make YOU’r POINT E - EXPLAIN E – EVIDENCE L – LINK to next paragraph

17 Writing in the objective voice Your essays and assignments should be written in the objective voice, without using “I”, “me” or “mine”. Instead you can use phrases like: It can be considered that… The information suggests that… The trend is that… The information highlights the fact that… It can be seen from the material that… Most historians agree/disagree…. Analysis of the data suggests… Primary sources indicate that… With some exceptions, sources generally agree that… Generally-held beliefs are that…


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