THE EFFECTIVE PERSUASIVE HISTORICAL ESSAY
The goal of the persuasive historical essay writer should be to support his/her historical
argument by stating it clearly and then proving its validity with both evidence and
analysis. Effective historical essays include the items below.
1. The thesis – the main argument which drives the entire essay – states the writer’s
position on the question clearly and succinctly early in the piece.
2. All other arguments should be consistent with or a smaller part of the thesis.
3. The thesis reflects thorough and thoughtful consideration of the historical
developments relevant to the question.
4. Evidence in the form of carefully chosen and analyzed excerpts from source
materials is presented regularly in order to demonstrate the thesis’ validity.
5. Both the evidence and the analysis are directly shown to bolster the thesis.
6. The more relevant source materials are cited and the more in-depth the
analysis used to support the thesis, the better.
7. The essay’s structure is logical: the introduction “funnels” to the thesis, there is a
new paragraph for each new thesis-supporting point, the conclusion re-visits the
thesis before “reverse funneling” to close.
8. Clear, concise, and accurate phrasing and grammar makes the essay readable.
9. Proper documentation and citing of sources is used, according to both teacher
specifications and the “History Department Research Guide.”