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Biography Essay: From Start to End

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Dr. Alex Freedman
  • Icon Calendar 20 June 2024
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A biography is a text about a personal life story of a famous individual. Basically, it is common for students in higher learning institutions to get assignments that require them to write academic compositions. In this case, one form of these works is a biographical essay. When doing such a paper, what a student should note is the need to focus on writing on a specific subject (individual) – life, personality, and other experiences. To remain focused, students must identify significant events in the life of a subject and create a good thesis statement around those events. In essence, a biographical essay should capture a childhood time of an individual, family history, significant living events, notable accomplishments, and historical significance. Hence, to get good marks, students need to learn how to write a biography of a famous person correctly.

General Features

In the pursuit of higher education, students often get writing assignments, and they come in various forms. Basically, one of these forms is biography essays, which are common in liberal arts disciplines, such as history and cultural studies. In this case, the literal meaning of the term “biography” is a life story, meaning such compositions are about the lives of specific individuals. Besides, these people tend to have a mark in the world, either positively or negatively, being their fame. Therefore, a biography document aims to make sure readers gain some knowledge about a specific individual. In turn, writing a biography paper enhances a better understanding of what individuals did in their lives and why their real experiences were exciting and important enough to be a central subject for making an academic composition.

What Is a Biography Essay and Its Purpose

According to its definition, a biography essay is a detailed written composition of a person’s life, focusing on their experiences, challenges, achievements, and impacts. The main purpose of writing a biography essay is to inform and engage readers by detailing people’s historical, cultural, or social significance (Miller, 2024). Hence, unlike other academic types of essays that talk about diverse topics, a biography essay focuses on telling about a famous individual, provides a chronological or thematic exploration of a subject’s life, and offers more insights into their characters, motivations, and the impact they had on their community, field, or the world at large. Basically, this aspect means people should focus on the life and personality of their subject, who is now deceased. Moreover, students have an opportunity to research the critical experiences of individuals and learn exciting facts about them (Hamilton, 2021). Generally, key subjects of this type of work happen to be famous individuals, such as politicians, entrepreneurs, historical figures, famous actors, and so on. As such, they are individuals whom the public would love to know more about – how they lived their lives and what made them outstanding in their specific fields. In terms of words and pages, the length of a biography essay can vary depending on academic levels, while general writing guidelines are:

High School:

  • Word Count: 500-1,000 words
  • Pages: 2-4 pages (double-spaced)


  • Word Count: 1,000-2,000 words
  • Pages: 4-8 pages (double-spaced)

University (Undergraduate):

  • Word Count: 2,000-3,000 words
  • Pages: 8-12 pages (double-spaced)


  • Word Count: 3,000-5,000 words
  • Pages: 12-20 pages (double-spaced)


  • Word Count: 5,000-10,000 words
  • Pages: 20-40 pages (double-spaced)
How to write a biography essay

Types of Biographies

Type of BiographyDefinitionExample
AutobiographyA self-written account of an author’s own life.“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
BiographyA well-detailed description of a famous person’s life written by someone else.“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
MemoirA narrative focused on specific experiences or periods in an author’s lifespan.“Becoming” by Michelle Obama
AuthorizedAuthored with a particular permission, cooperation, and often a direct assistance of a subject or his/her family.“Mandela: The Authorized Biography” by Anthony Sampson
UnauthorizedCompleted without a person’s permission or cooperation, often relying on secondary sources and investigative research.“The Lives of John Lennon” by Albert Goldman
FictionalA mix of fact and fiction, using real events and characters but incorporating fictional elements.“The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain
CollectiveCovers the lives of multiple people with a common link, such as a profession, time period, or theme.“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Mini-BiographyA shorter, more concise account of a person’s lifespan, often found in encyclopedias or on websites.A Wikipedia entry on a historical figure
OralBased on recorded interviews and oral histories, often presenting a subject’s voice directly.“Working” by Studs Terkel
Biographical NovelA novel based on the life of a real person, combining historical facts with imaginative storytelling.“The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone (about Michelangelo)

Writing Elements of a Biography Essay

A biography paper reveals to readers the life of a subject and their contribution to society and the world. To write a biography essay, authors thoroughly research their famous people, organize the information chronologically or thematically, and present a detailed, engaging narrative that highlights the person’s key living events, achievements, and impacts (Maurois & Roberts, 2014). Hence, an author of this type of composition must ensure to capture the following elements in their writing:

  • an individual who actually lived;
  • a thesis statement that advances a specific idea about the life, personality, and achievements of the individual;
  • a fascinating account of one or more significant events in the life of an individual; and
  • a description of the critical character traits of the individual.


  • Early Life and Family Background: Where and when was a famous person born? Describe their family and upbringing.
  • Education and Influences: What education did a particular person receive, and who were their major influences during these formative years?
  • Career Beginnings: How did a person start their career, and what early challenges did they face?
  • Major Achievements: What are the key accomplishments in their professional times, and how did they achieve them?
  • Personal Life: What significant personal relationships did they have, and how did these relationships influence their living?
  • Overcoming Adversity: What major obstacles did a person encounter, and how did they overcome them?
  • Impact and Legacy: What lasting impact did they have on their field, community, or the world, and how are they remembered today?
  • Character and Values: What were the person’s core values and beliefs, and how did these shape their actions and decisions?
  • Inspirational Moments: Share an inspiring story or moment from their experiences that reflect their character and influence.
  • Historical and Social Context: What historical events or social conditions shaped their existence and work, and how did they interact with and influence these broader contexts?

The Difference With Other Essays

While a standard academic document may be biographical, especially if it presents factual information about another person, it is fundamentally different from a biography work. For example, the significant difference between a standard essay and a biography essay is that the latter tends to be much longer than the former (Hamann & Kaltenbrunner, 2022). Moreover, to write a biography essay of myself, an author starts by outlining their lifespan chronologically, highlighting significant experiences, achievements, and challenges, and reflecting on how these aspects have shaped their personal and professional identity. As such, a key basis of this difference is that the content of a biography essay includes all of the essential and fascinating details of a person’s life (Ashplant, 2018). In principle, the main five parts of a biography essay are an introduction, early life, education and career, major achievements, and conclusion. Besides, these details include living events that impacted not only individuals but also those who interacted with them. Traditionally, biography essays begin with more information about a subject’s childhood and then recount the significant moments that left a mark on life and society in general.

💠 Grading

On grading, a standard essay is graded on how well it follows typical writing standards, particularly an introduction-body-conclusion structure. Firstly, the first part should introduce an initial thesis statement, and its body paragraphs should be thesis-driven. Basically, body sections should open with topic sentences and include evidence to back up claims that people make concerning a central thesis statement (Miller, 2024). In contrast, a biography composition is graded on how well it tells a real story about a subject. As such, students must make inferences about an individual throughout biographical papers. Although a biographical essay is not subject to an introduction-body-conclusion standard, auuthors must provide a logical flow of their writing. Moreover, this aspect means its content must start by focusing on the early life of an individual to the latter period, indicating how every phase of life was significant.

💠 Expectations

When writing a standard essay, students must show they understand their topic by using credible sources to support their claims and arguments. In this sense, they must use in-text and reference citations to demonstrate thorough research of the matter (Miller, 2024). In a biography paper, people must show an in-depth understanding of the life, personality, and achievements of their subjects. Basically, these details should give readers a preview of an individual’s entire lifespan, from birth to last days, including what led to their demise. To make an entire work engaging, students should focus on one or several events that significantly impacted a subject’s life, such as a disease, a divorce, or an achievement.


TitleThe title of an essay.The Life and Legacy of [Famous Person]
IntroductionBrief overview of a famous subject’s significance, including a thesis statement.Introduce [Famous Person], their importance, and the main focus of an essay.
Early LifeInformation about a person’s birth, family background, and early years.Born on [Date] in [Place], [Famous Person] grew up in … .
EducationDetails about an individual’s education and formative experiences.Attended [School/University], where [Famous Person] studied … .
Career BeginningsDescription of how a particular person started his or her career and his or her early achievements.[Famous Person] began [His/Her] career in [Field] by … .
Major AchievementsIn-depth discussion of person’s significant accomplishments and milestones.One of [Famous Person]’s major achievements was … .
Challenges and Overcoming AdversityInformation on any obstacles this individual faced and how he or she overcame them.Despite facing [Challenge], [Famous Person] managed to …
Personal LifeInsights into a subject’s personal life, relationships, and interests.In [His/Her] personal life, [Famous Person] was known for … .
Impact and LegacyAnalysis of an individual’s contributions and his or her lasting impact on society or his or her field.[Famous Person]’s legacy is evident in … .
ConclusionSummary of an essay, restating a central thesis and reflecting on a person’s overall significance.In conclusion, [Famous Person] is remembered for … .
List of ReferencesList of sources used for research and citations in APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian formats.Books, articles, journals, websites, etc.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Biography Essay

Although a biography paper does not follow an introduction-body-conclusion structure like a standard essay, writers must ensure a logical flow of information. In essence, a finished composition should read like a narrative, with a key thesis statement serving as a guiding idea. When writing this type of paper, students should focus on historical facts concerning defined subjects, using objective tone and language to describe individuals and their experiences (Hamann & Kaltenbrunner, 2022). In essence, the most important thing for authors to note is that a central story must be accurate and not fiction, and they must use reliable sources to validate their claims. Upon reading a completed composition, an individual should feel confident in writing a persuasive biography essay or finding the right guidance when doing such a piece. In turn, some examples of sentence starters for beginning a biography essay on a famous person are:

  • Born on [Date], [Famous Person] began [His/Her] journey in [Place], where … .
  • Growing up in [City/Country], [Famous Person] faced many challenges that … .
  • From an early age, it was clear that [Famous Person] had a unique talent for … .
  • Despite [Specific Hardship], [Famous Person] persevered and … .
  • In [Year], [Famous Person] achieved [His/Her] first major breakthrough by … .
  • One of the most significant moments in [Famous Person]’s life was when … .
  • Throughout [His/Her] career, [Famous Person] was known for … .
  • In addition to [His/Her] professional success, [Famous Person] was also passionate about … .
  • The legacy of [Famous Person] is evident in … .
  • Today, [Famous Person] is remembered for [His/Her] contributions to … .

1️⃣ Preparation

The first step in writing a biography essay is planning or preparation. In academic writing, one of the demands is that students should write articles that are educative, meaning they should advance ideas that readers find enriching in terms of knowledge acquisition (Miller, 2024). Therefore, finding relevant topics is critical. When writing a biography work, a student should ensure a subject is a person of great fame, and there is an audience that is likely to show interest in this individual. Basically, these two items provide direction on how an author should write a professional biography essay.

Choose a particular subject. Here, people should choose their subject – a specific individual whose life, personality, and other experiences they will address in their writing. Essentially, a standard requirement is that an individual must be a famous person who once lived (Mayer & Dessy, 2021). For research purposes, students need to select a subject for whom scholars have written articles and books. In turn, another part of preparation is to identify a significant event or events that shaped an individual’s living experience.

Choose a target audience. Another issue that a good writer should address during preparation is a target audience – a specific population most likely to show interest in understanding the life, personality, and other experiences of a subject. As already indicated, biographical essays are common in literal arts disciplines, like history and cultural studies (Hamilton, 2021). As such, an author should target scholars in these disciplines and those in the general public who are interested in understanding history. Ideally, a good subject provides authors with an idea of the audience’s target needs in terms of knowledge acquisition.

Prepare ideas. Lastly, students should be prepared by generating ideas about their compositions, such as what to cover and what to ignore. For example, writing about a famous individual’s lifespan is demanding and requires an author to determine what stories are relevant and which ones are not (Ashplant, 2018). In turn, while it is essential to talk about childhood, dwelling on it at the expense of adult time is counterproductive. Therefore, deciding what details to capture, such as significant events, helps people to generate ideas about a professional biography essay.

2️⃣ Set-Up Stage

After preparation, the next phase in writing a biography essay is setting up the stage. Here, authors should focus on academic sources they will use to back up their claims about a subject and an outline that a paper should adopt (Hamilton, 2021). Basically, creating an outline helps students to make notes on different topics they intend to address in a whole text, such as a subject’s childhood, education, and work experience. In turn, people should also make an annotated bibliography to get an idea of what to capture in their compositions.

Researching. The process of finding sources for use in a biographical essay denotes research – the identification of documented information (articles, books, and newspaper articles) about a particular subject. By reading these sources, writers gain a clearer picture of famous individuals, what inspired them, and how their experiences shaped their personalities (Maurois & Roberts, 2014). Ultimately, these sources help students to argue about contributions that a particular subject made, whether positive or negative. Moreover, using different sources helps authors to note various opinions that scholars have about an individual, which is vital to make the writing objective rather than subjective.

Note-making. When researching a topic, students make notes of what they learn. Basically, this aspect supports or strengthens their opinion about a chosen issue. Moreover, when writing a biography document, people should make notes as they read different sources they intend to use to support their thesis statement (Hamilton, 2021). In essence, students must identify themes related to their thesis statements and use them to guide the note-making process. To avoid subjectivity, they must note facts only and not their opinions when narrating specific events in an individual’s lifespan. Besides, mentioning significant events, interests, and persons in a subject’s life helps students to make a biography essay both educative and engaging to read.

Creation of an outline. Before embarking on writing a biography essay, a writer must create an outline to guide their story. Although biographical essays do not necessarily follow a standard format of traditional works (introduction, body, and conclusion), they follow a structure that provides a logical flow of information. In principle, the information, based on research, should provide insight into the life of a subject from childhood to adulthood or their demise (Mayer & Dessy, 2021). As such, ideas in each body paragraph must give a progressive narrative about an individual’s lifespan and other key aspects. In turn, people need to create an outline adopting an introduction-body-conclusion structure.

Creation of an annotated bibliography. To ensure sources that writers select are relevant to a biography essay, they must create an annotated bibliography. Basically, this feature means each source should have a brief descriptive paragraph, and it informs readers of the relevance and accuracy of picked sources (Miller, 2024). Moreover, students must demonstrate a variety of intellectual skills in writing an annotated bibliography, including concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed and in-depth research. In short, the process involves identifying sources (books, articles, and other documents) that contain useful information and ideas about an assigned subject and a brief examination and review of sources.

3️⃣ Writing Activity

After preparing and setting up the stage, authors should start writing a first version of a paper. In this case, a biography essay for students is a detailed account of a person’s lifespan written to inform and educate young readers about the individual’s significant experiences, achievements, and contributions (Miller, 2024). Here, students should use an outline that they have created to guide their writing with notes taken during the reading of sources. Basically, it plays a pivotal role in shaping a whole narrative. Like a traditional paper, a biography composition should use a thesis statement as a central opinion that people rely on to construct arguments throughout a composition.

Preparation of a first draft. To ensure a quality product, it is essential for a writer of a biography essay to start with a draft paper. Ideally, this composition acts as a reflection of a finished document, meaning it helps students to note mistakes and correct them before presenting a final product. Moreover, an opening chapter of a first draft, like an introduction, should engage readers and make them excited about reading an entire composition (Hamilton, 2021). In essence, a central thesis statement should ‘hook’ readers and make them interested in reading further. Besides, the more substantial part of a paper, which is a body section, should dwell on interesting facts about discussed subjects – their childhood, significant events, achievements, and contributions to the world. Finally, a closing chapter should remind readers about an author’s original intention and provide details about how its content has accomplished it.

Thesis statement. Like a traditional paper, a biography essay should have a thesis statement to provide writers with their direction. Basically, such a direction involves how authors choose to present their ideas about an assigned subject, such as whether to focus on their mistakes, achievements, challenges, or missed opportunities (Miller, 2024). In essence, a central thesis statement gives readers an idea of what authors of a biographical essay focus on when telling a story of a subject’s lifespan and other events. Hence, all aspects that authors talk about in an entire document should revolve around a central thesis statement. On the other hand, a biography essay can be one paragraph if it provides a brief yet comprehensive overview of a person’s life, highlighting key events and achievements concisely.

4️⃣ Wrapping It Up

After completing a biography draft, writers should read it through to identify mistakes and correct them. Basically, the writing activity is mentally involving, which means authors are prone to make several mistakes, such as inconsistencies in arguments, grammatical errors, and irrelevant content. To write a biographical essay, people research their subject thoroughly, create a structured outline, and write a detailed, engaging narrative that covers key living events, achievements, and their impact (Hamilton, 2021). Hence, this is why students need to read through their writing at least twice to make sure such mistakes are corrected. Moreover, the processes of correction involve conducting revisions and editions. As such, subjecting a completed document to vigorous assessment is necessary to ensure every mistake is identified and corrected.

Revisions. To avoid overlooking mistakes, it is essential for writers to give their works to other persons, such as peers, friends, teachers, and mentors, to read it through. Basically, doing so provides them with an opportunity of getting honest feedback about their writing. Moreover, such feedback involves whether a paper is easy to read, makes logical sense, or is interesting to read (Miller, 2024). Then, some of the input will pinpoint mistakes and errors, making it easy for students to revise a first draft appropriately. In turn, authors need to understand that a biography essay should make sense to a target audience, meaning they must remain objective and not subjective when making revisions.

Editions. In academic writing, students learn the importance of proofreading their works, and it helps to make them professional. When doing a biography essay, proofreading a first draft helps people to identify grammatical errors, including spellings and punctuations, and correct them (Miller, 2024). Moreover, a completed composition with these kinds of errors is likely to turn off readers’ interest, which would mean the writing would not command respect among scholars. Hence, such an outcome would mean a biography document is a wasted scholarly work.

Topic sentences. A standard structure of a paragraph in a traditional essay is to have a topic sentence that makes a claim relevant to a thesis statement. Then, the rest of the paragraph involves the information that backs up this claim, which is mostly researched from external sources. Basically, a good biography essay follows the same structure, where paragraphs open with topic sentences (Maurois & Roberts, 2014). Moreover, these sentences make a claim about a subject, which writers go ahead to prove through evidence from selected sources. Ideally, topic sentences serve to provide readers with an issue that authors focus on in a particular paragraph.

Concluding sentences. In every essay, a writer must provide a conclusion, which can be in the form of a paragraph or sentence. For example, a concluding sentence is what an author writes when bringing a paragraph to a closure (Maurois & Roberts, 2014). In this case, standards of academic writing dictate that a concluding sentence must refer back to a single topic sentence and show its relevance to a thesis statement. Then, a concluding sentence captures the thoughts of people about a chosen issue raised in one topic sentence and is backed up by evidence from different sources. Finally, a concluding sentence does not only refer back to topic sentences but also transitions to the next paragraph.

Transitions. When writing any paper, it is very critical for students to ensure the information flows logically throughout a biography paper. For instance, transitions mean the words and phrases that help readers to sense a logical flow of ideas (Miller, 2024). Therefore, one can argue authors of all forms of essays use transitions to arrange their writing expertly. Moreover, readers sense this effectiveness when they notice words that connect a single main idea with supporting ideas, or when they notice the use of a compare and contrast method. In other words, transitions are words that people use within and between paragraphs to create a logical flow of information and ideas. Besides providing students with a clearer picture of what they want to write about, an outline also helps them to get ideas about the kind of transitions they can use.

Formatting. It is the standard protocol that students should follow a particular format – APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian. As such, authors of a biography essay must always confirm they have used a right format, while every detail follows its requirements (Hamilton, 2021). Basically, these details include an outline, the use of headings and subheadings, and citations of sources. When citing sources, students should take note of their kind – books, journal articles, e-books, newspaper articles, periodicals, and so on.

Peer review. Peer-reviewed articles denote scholarly works that people have been subjected to scrutiny by peers in specific disciplines. In principle, peer review is the process of assessing the validity, quality, and originality of articles for publication (Ashplant, 2018). In turn, concerning biography documents, peer review would indicate subjecting a completed composition to scrutiny by peers and even instructors to ensure it meets the highest standards of academic writing. Moreover, the advantage of subjecting a biography essay to a peer review is that people need to know if what they have written is true or false. Therefore, it is common for famous individuals to have several writers interested in telling their stories, meaning it is easier to note inconsistencies in these stories.

5️⃣ Final Draft

After writers of a biography essay have subjected a first draft to vigorous scrutiny through revisions, editions, and peer review, they should embark on writing a final draft. Basically, this draft denotes a polished document, free of punctuation, grammatical, and spelling mistakes. Further on, it lacks inconsistencies in arguments, irrelevant sentences, and poor transitions. Moreover, final drafts should show an improved paper from first drafts because authors have incorporated feedback from peers, friends, and teachers (Miller, 2024). To achieve this objective, they need to read through a final draft, at least once, to ensure a completed paper is perfect before submission or publication. In turn, any indication of several mistakes should mean another revision. Hence, authors should focus on the content, organization of ideas, style of writing, and format.

Useful Technique

When organizing any type of paper, people should use some techniques that are likely to make their writing top-notch. To start writing a biography essay, authors begin with thorough research on a subject’s life, gather key facts and significant events, and craft an engaging introduction that captures a reader’s interest (Hamilton, 2021). As such, any writer should use a specific technique that prioritizes the following details:

  • childhood of a particular subject;
  • family history;
  • significant events;
  • significant personal and professional accomplishments;
  • and historical significance – significant contributions to society and the world at large.

How to “Show, Not Tell”

Unlike traditional works, biographical authors should focus on writing vivid details about the life, personality, and other experiences of an individual. Basically, this aspect means they should not focus not only on telling readers about a particular subject but also on “showing” them the life of a person through sensory details. In other words, a biography essay should not be an exposition but a real-life story with dramatic events (Miller, 2024). Moreover, to conclude a biography essay, writers summarize the person’s key achievements, reflect on their lasting impact, and reinforce their significance to leave a lasting impression on target readers. Ultimately, an author’s central mission is to make readers immersed in a completed text. In turn, after reading it, they can narrate a whole story to another person without referring to the reading.

Major Mistakes

When writing a biography essay, students tend to make several specific mistakes. Firstly, they tend to cover too much about a subject’s life, which makes their writing lose focus. As such, the solution to this mistake is to identify what is exciting and eventful about an individual’s lifespan and create a thesis statement around it (Maurois & Roberts, 2014). Secondly, people tend to miss the big story by getting caught up in details. In most cases, the life of a famous individual is characterized by dramatic events, and it is easy to get caught up in some at the expense of others. Hence, the solution to this mistake is to recognize what other authors have written about a subject, as it indicates what history remembers. In turn, other major mistakes when writing a biography document are:

  • Lack of Research: Failing to thoroughly research a particular subject can lead to inaccuracies and a lack of depth in a finished composition.
  • Overloading With Details: Including too many minor details overwhelms most readers and detracts them from the main points.
  • Ignoring Structure: A poorly organized paper can be confusing, and it is important to have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Being Overly Subjective: While some personal insight is acceptable, a completed composition should remain objective and fact-based.
  • Omitting Sources: Not citing sources properly can lead to issues with plagiarism and weaken the credibility of a paper.
  • Lack of Focus: Straying from the main themes and events of a person’s time makes a completed text unfocused and scattered.
  • Ignoring the Impact: Failing to discuss an individual’s impact and legacy can make an entire work less meaningful and engaging.
  • Poor Proofreading: Spelling and grammatical errors can distract readers and undermine the professionalism of a biography essay.
  • Starting Too Late: Procrastinating can lead to rushed writing, which often lacks quality and coherence.
  • Neglecting the Human Element: Focusing solely on achievements without exploring an individual’s character and his or her living makes a document impersonal and dry.

Short Biography Essay Example

Topic: George Washington

Introduction Sample

As one of America’s Founding Fathers, George Washington stands out as a leader who never shied from giving his best in every endeavor. Growing up as a boy, he made up sayings that shaped his attitude about life. One of these sayings reads: “Lean not on anyone” (Lengel, 2007). As he grew older, he developed a great sense of self-reliance and responsibility, which made him committed to family, military service, and country. In turn, these character traits were fundamental in shaping his achievements and contributions to America.

Example of Body Paragraph 1: Childhood

Although he grew up on his family’s Virginia plantation, Washington made up his mind as a young boy to become a land surveyor. At the age of 16, he had his first surveying expedition, where he slept outdoors and hunted for food (Lengel, 2007). Basically, these experiences made him a more mature teenager, and this aspect was evident in his sense of responsibility. Then, one can argue these early experiences positioned Washington for military service. For example, the year 1775 was eventful in Washington’s life as it marked his entry into military leadership (Lengel, 2007). After the Second Continental Congress named him commander in chief of the army, he made significant contributions before retiring from the position in 1783. Although he helped his soldiers to overcome significant obstacles, many deserted after supplies ran out. Also, Washington served two terms as the first President of the US from 1789 to 1797.

Example of Body Paragraph 2: National Hero

However, his service during the American Revolution affords Washington the tag of an American hero. For example, historians suggest he was a better general than a military strategist, as his strength lay in his ability to keep the struggling army together despite battlefield hardships (Lengel, 2007). Although he commanded a troop made up of poorly trained soldiers, serving with diminishing food, ammunition, and other essential supplies, Washington was effective in providing direction and motivation. Then, records showed that he was inspiring to his troops during the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, where the above hardships, combined with severe weather, made the troops weak and vulnerable (Lengel, 2007). Throughout the grueling eight-year war, Washington helped to lead the colonial forces in conquering the British. In October 1781, the Continental forces, with the French’s help, captured British troops in the Battle of Yorktown. Hence, this action brought to an end the Revolutionary War, with Washington being declared a national hero.

Example of Body Paragraph 3: Historical Significance

Washington’s rise to the presidency began in 1783 after the US and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris. Believing he had served his country well, Washington left the army so that he could return to Mount Vernon to become a farmer and family man. However, in 1787, he received an invitation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (Franklin, 1998). During the event, he was requested to head the committee to draft the new constitution. On account of his outstanding leadership, the delegates became convinced that he was, by far, the most qualified to become the first president of the fledgling nation.

Conclusion Sample

Despite the challenges that came his way during military service and politics, Washington remained an American patriot to the end. After his death, countless people of great repute paid tribute to this great American. In turn, his fellow Founding Father Thomas Jefferson eulogized him as a person of pure integrity and inflexible justice. Hence, history will always remember Washington as among the individuals who laid the foundation for America to become the greatest nation on Earth.

List of References

Franklin, J. H. (1998). George Washington Williams: A biography. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Lengel, E. G. (2007). General George Washington: A military life. New York, NY: Random House.

Summing Up

A biography essay differs from a traditional paper in that it focuses on the life, personality, and other experiences of a specific famous individual. To format a biography essay, writers structure such a composition with a clear introduction, a detailed body divided into chronological or thematic sections, and a reflective conclusion, ensuring proper citations for all sources. Although such a composition does not necessarily follow an introduction-body-conclusion format of a standard academic paper, it follows a structure that introduces a logical flow of details. In most cases, authors of these works adopt a structure of a standard essay. Besides, a typical biographical essay is longer than a standard paper. As a result, when writing a biography text, people should master the following tips:

  • Narrow a central focus by concentrating on significant events in a subject’s life.
  • Use facts but write a paper like fiction for purposes of arousing readers’ interests.
  • Make a composition an emotional journey by capturing details about a particular person that are surprising, exciting, revealing, and even unbelievable.
  • Ensure an assigned subject is a famous individual who once lived.
  • Talk about an individual’s childhood briefly.
  • Include family history.
  • Mention one or several significant events.
  • Cover significant personal and professional accomplishments.
  • Address a subject’s historical significance – significant contributions that a famous person made to society and the world at large.


Ashplant, T. G. (2018). Life writing “from below” in Europe: Introduction. European Journal of Life Writing, 7, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.5463/ejlw.7.237

Hamann, J., & Kaltenbrunner, W. (2022). Biographical representation, from narrative to list: The evolution of curricula vitae in the humanities, 1950 to 2010. Research Evaluation, 31(4), 438–451. https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvab040

Hamilton, N. (2021). How to do biography: A primer. Harvard University Press.

Maurois, A., & Roberts, S. C. (2014). Aspects of biography. Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, S., & Dessy, C. (2021). Introduction: Life writing and the transnational. Comparative Critical Studies, 18, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.3366/ccs.2021.0413

Miller, P. (2024). Writing true stories: The complete guide to memoir, creative non-fiction, personal essay, diaries, biography, and travel. Routledge.