Historians use footnotes to let their readers know where they found the information that they are presenting. Footnotes should include enough information to allow an interested reader to look up the book, article, web site, or other source that the historian has cited. Thus, the first time that you cite a source, you should include the author’s name, complete title, and publication information, as well as the page number on which you found the information. If you cite the source again in the same paper, you may simply include the author’s last name and the page number.
You must include a footnote after every quotation. You should also footnote indirect quotations (e.g., “According to Norton, the worst years of the depression were 1932-1933,” or “Norton said that the worst years of the depression were 1932-1933”), even though you have not directly quoted the author’s words. In addition, footnote statistics and specific facts that are not general knowledge. If you include a lot of specific facts in a paragraph, and all of the facts come from the same source, you may include a single footnote at the end of the paragraph rather than footnoting every sentence. In general, you will probably need to include several footnotes per page (although this varies; you may not need to footnote this often), but not necessarily a footnote after each sentence. Usually, footnotes will come at the end of a sentence, not in the middle of one.
You may use either footnotes or endnotes, and the footnoting style will be the same no matter which of these formats you use. Footnoting is very easy with most word processing programs. To insert a footnote in a Microsoft Word document, click “Insert,” and then, depending on which version of Word you are using, click “References,” “Footnotes,” or “Endnotes.” The word processing program will automatically number your footnotes for you.
Example of when and how to footnote:
depression was a bleak period in American history, and millions of Americans
were thrown out of work without any prospect of getting another job. In fact, the unemployment rate reached 25% in
1933. In the midst of this unemployment, many
became discouraged and turned to radical solutions. A few talked of the possibility of open
insurrection, as one disgruntled cattle rancher did in a conversation with an
the economy soured and as banks and businesses continued to fail, politicians
struggled to cope with the economic problems that
D. Roosevelt, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed with
How to Cite Sources Used in this Course:
Give the author’s name, book title, and publication information, followed by the page number containing the information that you are citing.
1. Allida M. Black, Casting Her Own Shadow: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Shaping of Postwar Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 55.
E.J. Dionne, Jr., Why Americans Hate Politics, 2nd ed. (
Give the title of the website, followed by the URL (the website address) in brackets.
1. “Declaration of American Women” (1977) [http://www.wiwomensnetwork.org/1977declaration.html].
Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation: A History of the
 David M.
Kennedy and Thomas A. Bailey, ed., The American Spirit, vol. 2, 10th
 Norton, 700.
 Kennedy and Bailey, 307.
 Kennedy and Bailey, 308.
 “The Great Depression and the New Deal,” Library of Congress, “American Memory.” [http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/intro01.html].