|Sample Introduction and Conclusion—River Valley Civilizations
Any introduction for a history paper is meant to draw the reader into the paper/article, capture their attention, and set the stage for the writing that is to follow.
An introduction generally proceeds from general to specific.
You can think of an introduction as a funnel (see diagram below)
The final sentence in the introduction (THESIS) is the single sentence that spells out the main point of your paper.
Part A-“Hook,” General Background, Broadest context possible
Part B-Moves reader toward specific content / examples /evidence
Ways to hook a reader:
Identify a surprising fact or statistic
Write a vivid description of something related to the topic
Use attention grabbing words
Brainstorm some ideas of a hook that you might use to get your reader interested in your topic:
Part B-Summarizes your main ideas from your body paragraphs. Answers your research question.
Part C-Takes the reader back to the broadest context possible (civilization). Final wrap up sentence
A conclusion completes a piece of writing. It gives the writer a final chance to communicate an idea and leave a strong impression on the reader.
A strong conclusion should:
Emphasize the main points of the writing but says it in a different way (restate).
Summarize or wraps up the writing.
Answers the question “so what” or the driving/fat question for the reader.
Think of the conclusion as the reverse or opposite funnel to the introduction paragraph
Below are three examples of different introduction and concluding paragraphs for three different essays:
Essay #1: SAMPLE: INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH
Egypt had a thriving civilization between 2,700 BCE and 1,100 BCE (hook, creates interest). There were three great periods of stability and unity in ancient Egypt during this time, the Old, Middle and New Kingdom (background information and introduction of topic). People began to settle in Egypt because of the Nile River, which provided water and fertile land for farming (geographic information). Over hundreds of years Egypt developed an organized system of government led by powerful pharaohs. Social structure helped organize society in to classes so that everyone knew their place. Religion strengthened the pharaoh's power and united Egypt and was important in daily life (identifies main ideas of essay). These three characteristics provided order and stability, which helped Egypt grow into a great civilization (thesis statement).
Essay #1: SAMPLE: CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH
Government, religion and social structure provided stability and order, which helped Egypt grow into a great civilization (re-state thesis statement). Egypt had a strong central government that created laws that people had to follow. The pharaoh was the supreme ruler and his word was law. Religion was important in daily life as people had to worship the gods. Religion also united the people of Egypt. Finally, social structure provided order because people knew their place in society (final or concluding points about the overall context and importance of the main ideas of the essay). A strong government, along with religion and social structure helped Egypt’s civilization develop and become very powerful (sense of completion).
Essay #2: SAMPLE: INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH
The Sumerian city-states were some of the earliest and oldest cities that developed in the world (Creates Interest; no more than 2 sentences). Sumerian city-states developed in present-day Iraq around 3,000 BCE (introducing the topic; no more than 2 sentences). People began living in an area called Mesopotamia because of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which provided great soil and farming land (Background Information). The A.R. allowed the people to produce a steady food and as a result, many important inventions occurred. Over hundreds of years people developed a government, social structure, religion, steady food supply, technology, a writing system, and arts culture (Identify main ideas of essay). The Sumerian city-states were a civilization because they had the 7 characteristics of civilization (thesis statement).
Essay #2: SAMPLE: CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH
The Sumerian city-states were a civilization because they had all 7 characteristics of civilization (re-state thesis statement). A steady food supply provided the people with all of necessary food and made them really healthy. Government, social structure, and religion all provided stability, order, and a way of life for people. Technology and creating new ideas helped the cities to grow and come up with new inventions. Arts and culture allowed people to decorate their homes and bring beauty to their lives (final or concluding points about the overall context and importance of the main ideas of the essay). These characteristics not only helped them become a city-state but also helped them grow, develop, and become very powerful (sense of completion).
Essay #3: SAMPLE: INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH
Ancient China had one of the earliest and most powerful military’s in the ancient world (Creates Interest). Their military advancements were second to none and they were known for their innovation and carefully planned battle strategies (introducing the topic; no more than 2 sentences). Ancient China needed a strong army to control their vast territories from the Gobi Desert in the north, to the plains in the south, and as far west as the Taklimakan Desert (geographic information). As China conquered more land, they gained more enemies and needed a way to stay in control. That way was through their military. Advancements in weapons allowed the Chinese to fight more effectively. Soldiers were well trained and were able to implement the strategies their leaders had so carefully planned for them. These tactics were key to the success of the Chinese military (identify main ideas of essay). These military advancements were an important part of what made ancient China so great.
Essay #3: SAMPLE: CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH
Ancient China was able to become a great and powerful ancient civilization because of its military advancements (re-state thesis statement). Advanced and more effective weaponry helped the military create the most amount of damage. Well trained soldiers were more skilled on the battlefield and were easily able to defeat untrained enemies. Finally, leaders created tactics that were successfully implemented by their army to conquer their enemies and to keep China safe (restate or summarize main ideas). Military advancements were key to ancient China’s power and domination. By having a powerful military, China was able to expand and defend its borders, while keeping its people safe (Answer to your fat/driving question). With the civilization protected from invaders, China was able to create a civilization that flourished for many centuries (final wrap up sentence).