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  • Brandy Parnell

2022 We the Students Essay Contest

We are excited to announce the launch of the Bill of Rights Institute's 2022 We the Students Essay Contest! The grand prize is $7,500 and a scholarship to the Constitutional Academy summer program in Washington, DC. Submissions are due April 15th at 11:59 p.m. ET.


This year's topic is: How does an understanding of natural rights and respect build a free society?


Answering the question requires an understanding of natural rights and how they relate to the principle of respect and how the flourishing of a free society is dependent upon them. To truly explore this question in an essay that is between 500 -800 words, students will need to go beyond "dictionary definitions," and express their understanding and reasoning about the connections among these principles. This reasoning involves a combination of observation, experience, and some pretty "big ideas." What does it take to understand them? To build toward and maintain them? To see them with regard to each other? Why are these relationships important?


We encourage students to bring emotion, creativity, specific examples, and well-researched facts into what they write. A good essay will demonstrate how these principles are not just abstract ideas but are part of people's everyday actions and choices.

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