Introductory Paragraph History Essay

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This happens pretty regularly and can lead to heated debates, complete with name-calling.

Even today, for example, historians still can’t agree on the extent of apocalyptic panic surrounding the year 1000.

For some periods and cultures (20th century America, for example), there are tons of primary sources—political documents, newspapers, teenagers’ diaries, high school year books, tax returns, tape-recorded phone conversations, etc.

For other periods and cultures, however, historians have very few clues to work with; that’s one reason we know so little about the Aztecs.

Ideally, after thinking for a while, they come up with a story to link together all these bits of information—an interpretation (read: educated guess) which answers a question about some past event or phenomenon. Except when two historians using different sources come up with contradictory answers to the same question.

Introductory Paragraph History Essay Writing Paragraphs And Essays

Even worse, what if two historians ask the same question and use the same sources but come up with different answers?

This handout was written with several goals in mind: to explain what historians do and how they approach the writing process, to encourage you to think about your history instructor’s expectations, and to offer some strategies to help you write effectively in history courses. History is everything that happened in the past: dates, facts, timelines, and the names of kings, queens, generals, and villains.

For many students, the word “history” conjures up images of thick textbooks, long lectures, and even longer nights spent memorizing morsels of historical knowledge.

You may be here (in North Carolina) because you or some ancestor crossed an ocean several weeks, years, decades or centuries ago.

You are here (in Chapel Hill) because, two hundred years ago, some people pooled their ideas, energy, and money to dig a well, collect some books, and hire some professors.

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