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Understand the assignment

In your essay, you will describe a historic event. The style of this essay is similar to a research paper for a history class. You can focus on describing the event itself or the causes/effects of it.


Encyclopedias can be an excellent place to begin looking for information on a specific event. Remember that after you do enough preliminary research to brainstorm and choose your focus, you should do more detailed research about your topic so that you can make your outline.


A Google search for "important events" might be  good place to start if you aren't sure what you want to write about.

Example topics could include the following:

  • The American Revolution
  • The moon landing
  • The discovery of DNA
  • The translation of the Bible
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • The sinking of the Titanic
  • The Renaissance

Choose your focus

Make sure the topic isn't too broad to cover in your essay.


Start with your topic sentences and thesis. Add questions or quotes to help you develop each of your ideas.


Your introduction should start by describing any background of the event that will be important for the reader to know.

At the end of your introduction paragraph, you should give your thesis. The thesis should describe the person/event in very specific terms.

The Great Depression was a time of great economic and political uncertainty.

1 Exercise: Evaluate thesis statements

How effective are each of these thesis statements?

  1. The biggest influence that America had after the Vietnam war are many: the big damage of the economy, the big change of the thoughts among the american people, and the permitted age to vote and the end of draft.
  2. Renaissance have been knowing as a cultural movement started in italy, making that the people felt the curiosity of an awakening mind which developed the basic science that nowadays we have been developing more and more through to the years.
  3. All these elements marked Russia's history, and to understand it in a broad way it would be necessary to learn about three outstanding aspects: Who ruled the last dynasty in Russia, what were the reasons that fueled the violence in the Russian Revolution of 1917, and what was the result of this revolution in Russia's history.
  4. The Great Migration involved a lot of people; they were courageous; they left the South to look for work and when they arrived, they found difficult conditions, but they worked to overcome them.


Your body paragraphs should explain how or why your thesis sentence is true. As you plan each of your body paragraphs, remember that using sources will make your writing more credible and interesting. Use sources properly so that you do not plagiarize. Each of your body paragraphs should have citations.

It may be helpful to divide your essay into sections when you outline an essay that will be longer than 2-4 pages. Thinking about the sections may be similar to how you would write a single paragraph for a shorter essay.

The topic sentences still do the same thing that topic sentences usually do. Notice that in the example, the topic sentences work together to show that the thesis is true.


Your conclusion paragraph should start by restating your thesis. Then, you should write about the event in more general terms and apply their situation to the world more generally. End with a concluding statement.

2 Exercise: Restate a thesis

Restate each thesis.

  1. Thesis: The invention of the lightbulb was a work of perseverance and ingenuity.
  2. Thesis: The sinking of the Titanic was as tragic as it was preventable.

3 Exercise: Write a thesis

Use the topic sentences to complete the thesis for this outline.

Thesis statement: The accidental discovery of Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army was ____________.

  • Section 1: Accidental
    • Topic sentence: The discovery of the warriors was completely accidental.
  • Section 2: Exciting
    • Topic sentence: Finding the army was exciting because a discovery of similar magnitude had not been made for many years.
    • Topic sentence: Archaeologists were thrilled by this discovery because it helped to shed light on unknown aspects of Chinese life under the reign of the first emperor.
  • Section 3: Intriguing
    • Topic sentence: The discovery of the army created many unanswerable questions for archaeologists.

Restatement of thesis:

4 Exercise: Peer Review

Give advice to the author of this student outline.

Thesis: The Independence's day of Mexico has been the best achievement in their history due to the fact they achieved the freedom, territory, and an entire country.

  • Section 1: Freedom was always really wanted by slaves
    • Topic sentence: The conspiracy of Queretaro.
    • Topic sentence: The "Grito de Dolores" (speech of dolores)
  • Section 2: The huge territory
    • Topic sentence: The Spaniards' domain over slaves.
    • Topic sentence: The lack of equipment.
  • Section 3: The beauty of Mexico
    • Topic sentence: Spaniards loved the richness of the land.
    • Topic sentence : Mexico has many precious natural resources.