how individual account [diaries,correspondence sketches,photographs etc ,by participants AND/OR obsevers] help us to understand the impact of crime war or ordinary britons

How do individual accounts (e.g. diaries, correspondence, sketches, photographs etc. by participants AND/OR observers) help us to understand the impact of the Crimean War on ordinary Britons?


Getting Started

1. Please note that most questions ask you to concentrate on one or two case studies, and/or to narrow your focus to a particular time frame (e.g. 1860-1880). How you do this will depend on the particular question and available sources. DO NOT TRY to cover too much ground in your essay – better to be overly narrow here than overly broad. (On the other hand, if the essay asks you to compare two cases, you can’t get away with just discussing one of them!) For guidance on narrowing your essay focus please contact Cindy McCreery or Andrew Shields.


2. Essay should include AT LEAST ONE, usually several, and occasionally many primary sources. The exact number depends on the precise topic (i.e. how you have focused your own response) and on the nature and length of the available primary sources. For example, an essay on the monument question might include many brief articles from colonial newspapers; whereas an essay on individual responses to a particular war might focus intensively on two contemporary full-length war diaries.


3. This must be in the form of an actual essay and employ formal academic writing – i.e. full sentences and no BULLET POINTS, footnotes and (not counted in the word count) sample bibliography.

A. At the top of the page, give the number and full title of your essay question as precisely as you can at this stage. [I.E. You may refine this question further before you submit your final essay – e.g. you might narrow the timeframe further – but please liaise with Cindy McCreery/Andrew Shields about this after you receive feedback on the draft essay.]

B. At the end of your essay, include a list of sample sources divided into two bibliographic sections ‘Primary Sources’ and ‘Secondary Sources’. While the number of primary sources will depend a lot on your particular topic, please include a minimum of 3-4 secondary sources. Use an asterisk * to indicate which sources you have already read/begun reading.

C. Include a sample introduction and paragraphs of the main text of the essay. Include a clear thesis statement in your introduction as well as signposting how your essay will proceed. Use the formal ‘This essay’ or ‘we’ rather than ‘I’.


For example:  ‘This essay will demonstrate how nineteenth-century British caricatures of Martians reflected wider British anxiety about the Martian threat to British jobs and racial ‘purity’. After a preliminary discussion of earlier anti-Martian sentiment in London, the essay will focus on the key period 1850-70 and examine the social and economic impacts of contemporary Martian migration. Through an exploration of four caricatures in Punch as well as contemporary newspaper articles, this essay will reveal the links between commercial visual culture and British anxiety about Martians taking locals’ jobs and intermarrying into local families. This analysis challenges the standard interpretation of British attitudes to Martians as expressed in Bernard Porter’s seminal book The Martian’s Share. In turn this essay suggests that Martians, and not ‘natives’ in the British empire, inspired the most vitriolic expressions of nineteenth-century British racism.’  [N.B. Obviously I made this particular topic up – but caricatures and newspapers articles are useful and accessible online sources]


You must use the Chicago referencing style in accordance with the Department of History essay writing guides which can be found here:



These guides provide invaluable information and examples of correct use of footnotes. Please note that footnotes NOT endnotes NOR in-text citations must be used. (N.B. Cindy McCreery worked on these documents with colleagues in the History Department, so she is particularly keen that you study them carefully!)


Essay writing is a key component of this unit of study (together, the draft essay and final essay are worth 60% of your total mark). In order to make your essays as strong as possible, please leave yourself enough time to research, write, re-write and proofread!



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