How does an understanding of natural rights and respect build a free society?
Essays should be between 500-800 words and should demonstrate an understanding of natural rights, how they relate to the principle of respect, and how the flourishing of a free society is dependent upon them. Excellent essays will go beyond "dictionary definitions," to express their understanding and reasoning about the connections among these principles. Specific examples, and well-researched facts should be combined with students’ own observations and experiences. A good essay will demonstrate how these principles are not just abstract ideas but are part of people's everyday actions and choices.
The winners of this year’s contest will receive:
1st Place – $7,500 and a scholarship to the 2022 Constitutional Academy summer program in Washington D.C.
Runners Up – 5 prizes at $1,500 each
Honorable Mentions – 10 prizes at $500 each
Essay Writing Guidance:
Note: Ideal We the Students responses…
- Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
- Use cited facts and arguments when appropriate to support their answers
- Are expressed in cohesive sentences and is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
- They address diverse viewpoints in a respectful manner
- They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly
While you are writing:
- Stay focused and minimize distractions.
- Write however you feel most comfortable—using a pen and paper or a computer.
- Let your topic guide your structure. Consider including an introductory paragraph, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- Stay on track: if you find yourself getting off the topic, go back and revise.
- Remember all writing is re-writing.
After you write, ask yourself:
1. Have I answered all aspects of the question?
- Is it clear what I am discussing?
- Have I stated an opinion when asked for one?
- Have I provided examples where asked?
- Have I said what I wanted to say?
2. Is my essay well-written?
- Have I used paragraphs?
- Do all my paragraphs have a topic sentence?
- Do I fully develop one idea per paragraph?
3. Is my writing correct?
- Have I checked for spelling errors myself, without relying on spell-check?
- Have I checked for grammar errors without relying on a grammar checker?
- Have I checked my facts: dates, document titles, names, etc.?
Try reading your essay aloud to a family member. Does it sound like it flows easily? Can your audience member summarize your essay back to you in one or two sentences? (If they can’t, try going back and clarifying your ideas.)
Try putting your essay down for a day or two and coming back to it and re-reading it. Do you notice anything you’d like to change or add?