The most important part of the essay
How to write an introduction to a history essay:a five minute guide
What is the point of an intro?
The point of an introduction is toanswer the question briefly, tosay what you think (what youthink needs to be backed up bythe evidence to prove it). Your first job in any introduction is toestablish a line of argument,which shows the examiner exactly how you are respondingto the question and it stops youfrom rambling and saying 'stuff'.If the question is ‘
To what extent was Henry VII the most modernising of the early Tudor Monarchs?
’ The focus of thequestion is on the
bit. It is implicit in thequestion that the answer is mostlikely to be ‘to a greater or lesser extent’ and the question is invitingyou to demonstrate your judgement and your ability toevaluate.2) What components are there toan intro? There are 3 parts, apreamble, a thesis and astatement of methodology, shownhere all together, and then brokendown below“When Henry VII came to thethrone he inherited a bankruptfeudal kingdom and only had thestructures of government leftbehind from the reign of RichardIII. By his death in 1509 Henry VIIhad created modern governmentin Britain, tamed the nobility andbuilt an effective tax system, so itcan be easily argued that he wasan important moderniser. In thisquestion I will argue that he wasin fact the most importantmoderniser of the dynasty, andthat the achievements duringHenry VIII’s reign were largely thework of effective ministers andnot Henry himself. In answeringthis question I will examine thefinancial, legal and foreignpolicies of Henry VII, Henry VIIIand Edward VI."
Building the Intro
Preamble: Here I am not trying tosay anything controversial or new, I am introducing the essayby saying something most peoplealready tend to know. Why?Because in a moment I willpresent my argument and thatshould contrast nicely with thepreamble:"
When Henry VII came to thethrone he inherited a bankrupt feudal kingdom and only had thestructures of government left behind from the reign of Richard III. By his death in 1509 Henry VII had created modern government in Britain, tamed the nobility and built an effective tax system, so it
don't have the evidence to makeit stand up. So it...
THE THREEPILLARS OF ANINTRODUCTION
Before you launch into theargument, create a little bit of context or ‘story’ to place yourargument in.
2LINE OF ARGUMENT
Set out what it is you are actuallytrying to argue or say, whatdirection is your essay going in? If you don’t know the answer tothis question, it’s a sign that youneed to go and read morearound the subject.
Showing how you intend tosupport your line of argument,what issues the essay willexplore.
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