Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Slavery (A-level History NEA): Home

The Enquiry Question

‘Lord Mansfield’s ruling in the Somerset v. Stewart case of 1772 was the most important turning-point in this period, leading to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1838.’ Assess the validity of this view in regard to the period, 1730-1838

This question requires you to analyse change: the reasons for change and the extent of change [leading to a specific outcome] over a period. You will need to consider continuity: the forces operating to prevent change and how these were overcome.You must clearly demonstrate that you have considered the whole period.

Contents - quick links

On this tab:

Other tabs:

  • Books and book chapters:
    • Gives links to all the recommended texts and details of how to borrow them, plus downloadable PDF scans of key chapters.
  • Articles:
    • Gives links to a large number of relevant JSTOR articles, plus advice on other databases you might wish to use.
  • Using sources in your work:
    • Gives advice on note-making and citing and referencing


Winter Term 2021

[Weeks 1 & 2 will be dedicated to the coursework; Exam teaching resumes in Week 4]

Week 6   [Monday] – 11th October: First Draft of Core Essay [2000 words] submitted.

Week 9   [Monday] – 1st November: Polished Draft of the Core Essay submitted.

Week 11 [Monday] – 15th November: Interpretations Evaluation [1000 words] submitted.

Week 13 [Monday] – 29th November: Primary Sources Evaluation [1000 words] submitted.

Spring Term 2022

Week 4   [Monday] – 31st January: First Full Draft [with footnotes] completed.

Week 7   [Monday] – 21st February: Completed CW Essay – First Submission.

Week 11 [Monday] – 21st March: Final Submission of CW [for final assessment].

Demands of the NEA

Key points to remember

  • Coverage

You must ensure that you demonstrate that you have considered the whole period in your essay. It is therefore important that you have a turning-point near the start of the period. You need to consider the significance of your turning-points in the context of the period as a whole, not just as short-term agencies of change with certain, short-term outcomes.

  • Selection of Contemporary Sources

You need to ensure that you select sources written from different perspectives and of a different type or nature. Your teacher can advise you on this. You need to select an extract from the original source for evaluation [about the same length as an examination source for Paper 2].

  • Evaluation of Interpretations

The key here is to ensure that you choose two sharply contrasting interpretations of why slavery was abolished [or an important aspect of why slavery was abolished] written at different times [in a very different context]. You need to be able explain how the context of the period in which the historian was writing affected their perspective on the topic.  You may also consider it relevant to consider how previous interpretations of the same topic and issues may have influenced a historian’s writing [historians do set out to counter an argument with which they strongly disagree or because new evidence has come to light].

  • Authentication

Your essay will be read and checked by an AQA moderator. It is important that it is entirely your own work and that your essay is clearly authenticated by accurate and regular referencing from the research materials you have used. You will find guidance on citing and referencing on the Using Sources in Your Work tab.

The important information about Component 3

  1. It contributes 20% of your total AL qualification
  2. It comprises one, independently researched, extended essay
  3. Your answer must not exceed the word limit of 4500 words [5 mark penalty]
  4. Your answer must cover a chronological range of least 100 years
  5. It must incorporate evaluation of primary evidence as part of your analysis
  6. It must incorporate evaluation of different interpretations as part of your analysis
  7. Your teacher is allowed to advise you but cannot plan your work
  8. Your teacher is not allowed to mark your drafts but can discuss your progress
  9. ‘Polished Draft’ must be submitted by the start of Week 9 of the Winter Term.
  10. The final submission date is the end of the Spring Term [before the Easter break]
  11. There are important intermediary ‘staging-post’ deadlines

What is the point of Component 3?

  1. To enable you to develop an understanding of a fascinating topic
  2. To allow you to prepare for university-style assessments
  3. To introduce you to the formal requirements of scholarly research
  4. To prompt truly independent work
  5. To allow you to lay a strong foundation for your final qualification


An electronic copy of your coursework guide to use when you don't have yours with you. Please DO NOT print this out. You already have a print copy.

Normal term-time Library opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 08:30-21:15
Sat: 08:00-16:00
Sun: 14:00-18:00