Sample history essay with footnotes

Sample History Essay With Footnotes

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Telling Footnotes in MLA Style.

Sample Paragraph with Footnotes and a Bibliography

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Sample Footnotes in MLA Style

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How to Do Footnotes

Footnotes are powerful tools, they are used to provide ancillary information and also citations in the footer of a page. Most often, editors of books, journals and other media will ask that parenthetical information be included in footnotes as a way to control the prose of the document. When used properly, a footnote is an excellent way to add to work or to quickly cite or reference quotes and other secondary information.

There are several footnote formats.

Method A: Footnote Citations

  1. Create the works cited or bibliography prior to entering footnotes. Footnotes are typically a condensed version of a citation at the conclusion of a text. Any content included in a footnote will typically be done last. Finish the paper in its entirety, including all references used, and then add footnotes.
  2. Navigate to the end of the sentence where the footnote will go. If you are using a word processor like Microsoft Word, navigate to the references tab and select ‘footnote’ and then ‘insert footnote’ You should see a number “1” to the right of the sentence, and another in the footer. In the footer, you will type all of the information that you want to be included in the footnote.
    1. The footnote symbol should be stamped after any punctuation used. The corresponding number appears outside of the sentence.
  3. Include the citation for a reference or quote. Should you be using a footnote in the place of an in-text citation, it is necessary to include the surname of the writer or editor, along with the title of the work, edition, series, location of publication, date of publication and the name of the publisher.
  4. Citation of an online resource. In order to cite a website, or another online source, in a footnote you will need the name of the writer, or the editor of the website, along with the title of the website, the URL and the date it was accessed.

Method B: Utilizing footnotes as a way of providing further information

  1. Using footnotes as a means to provide clarification of information to the reader. Rather than adding information about the source in the footnotes, it is possible to use the footnote as a place to provide related information – often taken from sources that are not directly cited in the body of the paper.
  2. Keep it brief. If an essay quotes a source that talks about something specific and you need to clarify this, the footnote after the number will be brief, direct and include citations.
  3. Use this method of footnote moderately. Overdrawn footnotes, with in-depth explanations, are off putting. They distract and confuse the reader. If you end up having a lot of additional information, consider adding to the body of the paragraph.
    1. Often time, editors will suggest that additional information be included in parenthesis. Remember to take into account the prose and the flow of information.
  4. Make sure that the footnote is necessary. Prior to using footnotes to further reference sources, ask your teacher how you should be citing sources and if footnotes are required. Most often MLA footnote format asks writers to make use of in-text citations, instead of a footnotes. In this case, footnotes are reserved for supplementary information.

MLA Format Examples

For anyone required to adhere to the MLA (or Modern Language Association) guidelines for footnote citation, there are a number of things that need to be done when authoring an MLA research paper that requires foot and/or endnotes.

MLA Paper Example

If you choose to indent your paragraphs as recommended in the MLA Handbook (132), begin a new paragraph by typing the first word 1/2″ (1.25 cm or 5 spaces) from the left margin. The entire essay is typed double-spaced, except for Footnote citations at the foot of the page. Title of essay centered, 1” (2.5 cm) margin on all four sides, page number at upper right hand corner 1/2″ (1.25 cm) down from the top.

If your instructor prefers that paragraphs not be indented, you must still double-space your lines, but you will need to quadruple-space between paragraphs. More empty space is created for the instructor to write comments when paragraphs are not indented.

How to Use Footnotes

Footnotes must be listed numerically and consecutively, both in your essay and in your Footnote citation. Footnote numbers must be superscripted. In your text, add a superscripted number immediately after the quote or reference cited with no space.

The Footnote citations must be added at the foot or bottom of the SAME page where you have cited the sources. All first Footnote references must be cited in full. Subsequent references of the same work may be shortened to include only the author’s last name and page number. If the source cited has no author stated, use whatever minimal information is needed to identify the work previously cited, e. g. short title and page number. Formerly, the Latin terms ibid. and op. cit. were used but they are no longer preferred.

It is recommended that you use Endnotes in place of Footnotes. This will eliminate the need to allow sufficient space to accommodate all the required Footnote entries at the bottom of the same page where your citations occur. If your instructor has no preference, use the much simpler Parenthetical Documentation in place of Footnotes or Endnotes.

For details on how to handle Footnotes that continue onto the next page, please see MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 6th ed., pages 299-300.

Begin your Footnote citations four lines (quadruple space) below your text. Follow the spacing as shown in the example below, e. g. indent the first line 1/2″ (1.25 cm), and add a space after the superscripted number. Do not indent the second and subsequent lines of Footnotes. Single-space Footnotes within each citation as there is not much room at the bottom of the page. Double-space entries between citations, and be sure to list them in the same consecutive order as cited in the text of the essay.

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The Many Facets of Taboo

The World Book Encyclopedia defines Taboo as “an action, object, person, or place forbidden by law or culture.” 1

An encyclopedia of the occult points out that taboo is found among many other cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Jews and others. 2

Mary Douglas has analyzed the many facets and interpretations of taboos across various cultures. She points out that the word “taboo” originates from the Polynesian languages meaning a religious restriction. 3 She finds that “taboos flow from social boundaries and support the social structure.” 4

In reference to Freak Shows at circuses, Rothenberg makes the observation that people who possess uncommon features and who willingly go out in public to display such oddities to onlookers are acting as “modern-day taboo breakers” by crossing the “final boundary between societal acceptance and ostracism.” 5

In traditional British East Africa, between the time of puberty and marriage, a young Akamba girl must maintain an avoidance relationship with her own father. 6

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Looking at taboo in a modern society, Marvin Harris gives an interesting example of the application of cultural materialism to the Hindu taboo against eating beef. 7

5 Kelly Rothenberg, “Tattooed People as Taboo Figures in Modern Society,” 1996, BME/Psyber City, 18 Jan. 2005 .

6 Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (New York: Random, 1918) 17.

7 Marvin Harris, “The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle,” Current Anthropology 1992, 7:51-66, qtd. in Stacy McGrath, “Ecological Anthropology,” Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Students for Students 19 Oct. 2001, U. of Alabama, 18 Jan. 2005 .

If your instructor considers your Footnote citations to be adequate documentation, you may not be required to complete a Works Cited, References or Bibliography page. Otherwise, a separate page must be added at the end of your paper entitled: Works Cited, References, or Bibliography to include all of the above Footnote citations. See sample below.

Works Cited

Douglas, Mary. “Taboo.” Man, Myth & Magic. Ed. Richard Cavendish. New ed.

21 vols. New York: Cavendish, 1994. 2546-2549.

Dundes, Alan. “Taboo.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 2000 ed.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. New York: Random, 1918.

McGrath, Stacy. “Ecological Anthropology.” Anthropological Theories: A Guide

Prepared by Students for Students. 19 Oct. 2001. U. of Alabama. 18 Jan. 2005

Rothenberg, Kelly. “Tattooed People as Taboo Figures in Modern Society.”

1996. BME/Psyber City. 18 Jan. 2005 .

“Taboo.” Occultopedia: Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences and Knowledge. Site created

and designed by Marcus V. Gay. 18 Jan. 2005 .

Writing an MLA style essay does not need to be an intimidating task, particularly if you’ve taken the time to create an outline, learned how to cite footnotes and created your supplementary pages (title and bibliography.) Putting forth the effort to carefully research your topic, and to create finished paper that is organized and flows nicely from one paragraph to the next is the best way to ensure that you well on your way to a passing grade and a strong career for academic writing.

If any assistance is needed concerning formatting your Footnotes in MLA Style, get More Information Here.

Guidelines for Footnotes and Bibliography

The Use of Footnotes

Footnotes are the acceptable method of acknowledging material which is not your own when you use it in an essay. Basically, footnoted material is of three types:

  1. Direct quotations from another author’s work. (These must be placed in quotation marks).
  2. Citing authority for statements which are not quoted directly.
  3. Material of an explanatory nature which does not fit into the flow of the body of the text.

In the text of an essay, material to be footnoted should be marked with a raised number immediately following the words or ideas that are being cited.

«The only aspect of Frontenac’s conduct the king. did not condemn was his care for military security,» Eccles stated, condemning Frontenac’s administration. 2

The footnotes may be numbered in sequence on each page or throughout the entire essay.

I. Form and Content of Footnotes:

A. From a book:

1 W. J. Eccles, Frontenac The Courtier Governor (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1959), 14.

[The information given in a footnote includes the author, the title, the place of publication, the publisher, the date of publication and the page or pages on which the quotation or information is found.]

B. From an article in a journal:

1 Peter Blickle, «Peasant Revolts in the German Empire in the Late Middle Ages,» Social History, Vol. IV, No. 2 (May, 1979), 233.

C. From a book containing quotations from other sources:

1 Eugene A. Forsey, «Was the Governor General’s Refusal Constitutional?», cited in Paul Fox, Politics: Canada (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Company of Canada Ltd., 1966), 186.

D. From a standard reference work:

1 Norman Ward, “Saskatchewan,” in The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2 nd ed., Vol. 3, 1935.

2 J. K. Johnson and P. B. Waite, “Macdonald, Sir John Alexander,” in The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 12, 599

E. From the Internet:

In citing material read on the Internet, it is not sufficient to indicate the website alone. You must provide information about author, title, and date of the document you are using, as follows:

1 T. J. Pritzker, (1993). «An Early Fragment from Central Nepal» [Online]. Available: http://www. ingress. com/

astanart/pritzker/pritzker. html [1995, June].

The final date [1995, June] is the date the website was consulted.

For more information about how to cite electronic information see Xia Li and Nancy Crane, The Handbook for Citing Electronic Resources or http://www. uvm. edu/

II. Rules to Remember in Writing Footnotes:

  1. Titles of books, journals or magazines should be underlined or italicized.
  2. Titles of articles or chapters—items which are only a part of a book—are put in quotation marks.

III. Abbreviating in Footnotes:

The first time any book or article is mentioned in a footnote, all the information requested above must be provided. After that, however, there are shortcuts which should be used:

(a) Several quotations in sequence from the same book:

The abbreviation to be used is «Ibid.,» a Latin word meaning «in the same place.» (Notice that Ibid. is not underlined). Ibid. can be used by itself, if you are referring to the same page as the previous footnote does, or it can be combined with a page number or numbers.

1 Gerald Friesen, The Canadian Prairies: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984), 78.

(b) Reference to a source that already has been cited in full form but not in the reference immediately preceding , is made by using the author’s last name (but not the first name or initials unless another author of the same surname has been cited), the title—in shortened form, if desired—and the page number.

1 William Kilbourn, The Firebrand (Toronto: Clark, Irwin and Company Limited, 1956), 35.

2 John L. Tobias, «Canada’s Subjugation of the Plains Cree, 1879-1885,» in Sweet Promises: A Reader on Indian-White Relations in Canada, ed. J. R. Miller (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 224.

3 Kilbourn, The Firebrand, 87.

4 Tobias, «Canada’s Subjugation of the Plains Cree,» 226.


The bibliography should be on a separate page. It should list the relevant sources used in the research for the paper. This list should be arranged alphabetically by the surname of the author. (Unlike the footnote reference, the surname is shown first, set off from the rest of the information.) The information required is: author, title, place of publication, publisher and date of publication.

NOTE: The information is separated for the most part by periods (rather than by commas, as in the footnotes) and the parentheses enclosing the facts of publication are dropped.

Eccles, W. J. Frontenac The Courtier Governor. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1959.

Johnson, J. K. and P. B. Waite. “Macdonald, Sir John Alexander.” In The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 12,

Koenigsberger, H. G. and George L. Mosse. Europe in the Sixteenth Century. London: Longmans, 1971.

Laslett, Peter. «The Gentry of Kent in 1640,» Cambridge Historical Journal, Vol. IX, No. 2 (Spring 1948): 18-35.

Pritzker, T. J. (1993). «An Early Fragment from Central Nepal,» [Online]. http://www. ingress. com/

/pritzker. html. [1995 June].

Tobias, John L. «Canada’s Subjugation of the Plains Cree, 1879-1885.» In Sweet Promises: A Reader on Indian-White
Relations in Canada
, ed. J. R. Miller. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991: 212-240.

Ward, N. “Saskatchewan.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2 nd ed., Vol. 3, 1931-1938.