How to Write a Conclusion For a History Essay Step-by-Step

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A historical essay is a short piece of writing that answers a question or addresses a topic.  It shows a student’s historical knowledge and ability to express themselves. The conclusion is a final summary that explains why the topic is significant. A well-written conclusion ends a historical essay on a strong note. It often is what the reader remembers the most.  

What Is A History Essay?

An essay is a short piece of writing that answers a question (“Who are the funniest presidents”) discusses a subject (“What is Japanese feudalism”), or addresses a topic (“Causes and Effects of the Industrial Revolution”).  A historical essay specifically addresses historical matters.

These essays are used to judge a student’s progress in understanding history. They also are used to teach and analyze a student’s ability to write and express their knowledge.  A person can know their stuff and still have problems expressing their knowledge.  

Skillful communication is an essential tool.  When you write your conclusion to a historical essay remember that both the information and how you express it are both very important.  

Final Chance To Impress 

The conclusion of a historical essay is the final paragraph.  

This is important.  It is the final thing that the reader reads.  It provides a final impression that can be the thing that is remembered the most.  It is one last chance to impress.

Conclusion Is A Summary 

The conclusion is a summary of your argument or topic.  This is an example of the importance of crisp writing.  The summary provides the reader with a final brief chance (do not ramble!) to know what you are trying to say.  Try not to be boring.  Do not write in the first person (“I”).

The summary does two basic things.  If your historical essay has a specific thesis, a question that you have to answer, you summarize your answer.  And, you summarize the main points of your essay.  In both cases, you do not just repeat what you said before.  

Conclusion Says Why It All Matters 

The conclusion should not provide new information to make your case.  That is what the body of the essay is for.  The conclusion does say why your topic matters.  

It provides the historical implications or significance of your topic.  It offers a final chance for the reader to think about the subject of your historical essay.  End on a strong note!  

Step-By-Step Guide To Writing A Conclusion 

Step 1:  Restate Your Thesis Statement

A “thesis” is a fancy way of saying what you are trying to convince the reader is true.  It is your argument.  For instance, you might have to argue that Catherine the Great truly was impressive. You would start a conclusion with a one-sentence summary of your basic viewpoint.

For these reasons, Catherine the Great was an impressive monarch given the restraints she had to live under.  

If the historical essay does not answer a specific question, the opening statement can summarize the subject of the essay itself:

Donata Badoer, a Venetian noblewoman, married Marco Polo in 1300.  

The restatement sentence does not provide an explanation.  It simply summarizes your basic conclusion.  Note that the thesis sentence might have a qualifier, something that must be true for the argument to work.  Catherine was great “given the restraints” of the times.  

The restatement sentence also can include various words that signal to the reader that the essay is coming to a close. These “summary words” include: in summary, as a result, on the whole, for these reasons, this proves, overall, therefore, this study reveals, and the evidence shows.  

The appropriate words tend to be a matter of personal taste and judgment. They sometimes can be left out (“for these reasons” is a bit redundant) but are popular flourishes.  

Step 2: Restate Your Key Points 

This part of the conclusion summarizes the key points of your historical essay.  

Remember, you are not supposed to be introducing anything new. This is also not a long explanation of the topic.  You already did that.  

The restatement can be as short as one sentence.  It should not be much longer than two to three sentences.  This is a conclusion paragraph, not a separate chapter.

Catherine the Great rose from humble beginnings to lead a great empire, providing many benefits such as supporting women’s education, improving the country’s image, and promoting vaccination.  

Note that you are summarizing your main points without being vague (not just “many benefits” or “people say” but specific examples).  The reader has a crisp summary of your argument.

Step 3: Final Statement and Thoughts 

The conclusion ends with a statement on why this all matters.  

The reader learns how the topic fits into a wider historical context.  How did the topic affect the future, including the current day? Is there an unanswered question or something that can be a helpful subject of research?  The reader is left thinking and intrigued.  

For instance, a historical essay on new weapons in World War I can end thusly:

Those who fought in World I did manage to retain their humanity but the new weapons foreshadowed even more deadly battles and weapons in the future.

Again, the conclusion is a brief summary.  This final thought should be a sentence or two long.  

This section especially provides you some room to provide a bit of a personal touch.  A quotation or suggestion for further research can be added.  The reader is left wanting to learn more.  

Conclusion About Conclusions 

The conclusion of a historical essay ties everything together.  It reminds the reader what your argument is and why it matters.  A well-written conclusion is not just a cherry on top of the sundae.  It leaves the reader with a content feeling that they did not waste their time reading your essay.  They won’t be confused or bored.  They will be left content and intrigued for more.

Teach and Thrive

A Bronx, NY veteran high school social studies teacher who has learned most of what she has learned through trial and error and error and error.... and wants to save others that pain.