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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.
  • Primary Sources:
    • Gives a document comprising primary sources and advice on how to use them in your essay.
  • Using sources in your work:
    • Gives advice on note-making and citing and referencing


Winter Term 2022

[Taught course of four weeks in F6 Summer Term with preliminary research]

Week 3   [Monday] – 19th September: First Draft of Core Essay [2000 words] submitted.

Week 5   [Monday] – 3rd October: Polished Draft of the Core Essay submitted [footnoted]

Week 9 [Monday] – 31st October: Interpretations Evaluation [1000 words] submitted.

Week 11 [Monday] – 14th November: Primary Sources Evaluation [1000 words] submitted.

Week 14 [Monday] – 5th December: First Full Draft [with footnotes] completed.

Spring Term 2023

Week 5   [Friday] – 10th February : Completed CW Essay – First Submission.

Week 11 [Wednesday] – 22nd 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. It is vital that you meet the intermediary deadlines [as above]
  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.

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