a. How to Write 'Decision Essays' (90657)


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How to Write ‘Decision Essays’ (90657) … including how to handle all the content without waffling and avoid falling for the ‘tricky’ questions…

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This essay asks you to focus on a decision made in the Tudor-Stuart period (1558-1603) and the causes/effects of that decision. The decisions you are given to choose from, may have been made by an individual (e.g. a monarch) or a group (e.g. parliament). They may have made the decision entirely on their own (as Charles seemed prone to do!) or with guidance/advice (as Elizabeth mostly did). They may have been a long time in the making (e.g. the decision to execute Mary Queen of Scots) or quite quick, reactionary decisions.

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Types of Decisions When you are revising, you should try to make a list of all possible decisions which you think you could be given. These may include any of the following: Decisions of leaders (e.g. the monarch, key favourites, ministers, parliament etc). Making treaties/laws, government/foreign policy (e.g. war) Establishing a religious settlement or religious changes or alterations to financial revenue (e.g. impositions or alterations to recusancy fines). Appointment/execution of key figures (e.g. Essex, Laud, Strafford etc). Resistance movements (e.g. Catholic threats, Irish Rebellion).

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Describe  Explain  Explain in Detail

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Where do I begin? As boring as it sounds…start by picking a good question…then write a plan. So how do I pick a good question?

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Look at the following essay questions… consider: Which seems the easiest/ most straight forward? Which has a ‘curly’ trick to it? Which needs a significant amount of information to answer it (breadth/depth)?

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Explain the factors that led to James I’s decision to pursue a peaceful foreign policy. Evaluate the political consequences of this decision for James himself and Charles I in the period 1603-1625. … the ‘factors’ leading to the decision are straightforward… …but note – you need to evaluate the political consequences for James 1603-1925 …AND…the political consequences for Charles BEFORE he becomes king (1925) and in his first year… so you shouldn’t be jumping into events that occur later such as Multiple Kingdoms or the lead-up to Civil War… making it a bit tricker.

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Explain the factors that led to the Rump Parliament’s decision to execute Charles I in 1649. evaluate the political, social and religious consequences of the execution Again…the factors are pretty straight forward, they will be a combination of long and short term things including financial measures, issues of royal prerogative and actions during the Civil War. The second part of the question needs to you evaluate all 3 different types of consequence (political, social and religious). These should include short/long term effects, as well as positive/negative effects or major/minor effects. Consider these for England, its multiple kingdoms (e.g. Ireland) and other nations (e.g. France) as well as individuals (e.g. Cromwell or Charles II).

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Explain the factors behind Elizabeth’s decision to establish a single national broad-based Church of England in 1558. Evaluate the consequences of her decision on the lives of Protestant church-goers. Don’t just jump on this because it’s asking about the Religious Settlement – look for the catch! The consequences focus on the Protestant church-goers. Most students will fall into the trap here of talking about the Catholic plots and Mary Queen of Scots, but they are not relevant to Protestant church-goers… in fact, many students don’t learn much at all about the Protestants who follow Elizabeth’s settlement, only those who challenge it. Could you actually write a page or so on the effects on Protestants? If not, this is not the question for you!

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What is the best way to plan?

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Ok…but how do I structure my paragraphs? If you were answering the question above…your structure might look like this Introduction: A short (!) paragraph that briefly establishes the historical setting and states the argument to be followed. It should include your evaluation and refer to BOTH parts of the question (factors and effects). Body: A series of structured, sequences paragraphs that: describes the historical background in which the decision to execute Mary was taken (e.g. past religious upheaval, why Mary was in England etc) examines the factors that contributed to the decision (e.g. Catholic plots, Privy council pressure on Elizabeth and her reluctance to execute) evaluates the consequences of Mary’s execution - political and personal (e.g. advisors out of favour and tougher on Catholics), both inside and outside England (e.g.Spain, France, Scotland) evaluates the differing views of contemporary commentators and historians about Mary’s execution (could be paraphrased or quoted – should be mixed throughout essay) Conclusion: A short paragraph that sums up your key points and the significance of the decision to execute Mary. Remember to refer again to factors and effects and argument. How significant was the decision to execute Mary Queen of Scots in 1587? Evaluate the impact her death had on political and personal relationships within and outside England’s borders

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Summary: Help to guide students answer NCEA Level 3 History essays on 'decisions' for the Tudor-Stuart England topic.

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