National Council for the Social Studies is holding the 1787 Prize essay contest in observance of Constitution Day.

“The consent of the governed” is a foundational principle upon which our nation’s government is built. Indeed, the “just powers” of our 1787 Constitution were directly legitimized by ratification of the people in pathbreaking citizen conventions. Today, the freedoms we hold dear are embodied in rules and laws we democratically have a voice in crafting.

The 1787 Prize brings those citizen voices back to center stage. It recognizes the best annual student essay on the subject of the U.S. Constitution’s past, present and future relevance by exploring how our written principles align with this vision of citizen engagement. 

The 1787 Prize is open to all high school students in grades 11-12. An essay may be submitted with up to three student co-authors. There is a maximum of one submission per high school.

Essay requirements are:

  • Between 1,000 – 2,500 words;
  • Includes a footnote and bibliography; and
  • Incorporates a mix of primary and secondary sources.

One award will be announced in the amount of $2,500. The $2,500 prize amount will be split among any co-authors. 

More details can be found on The 1787 Prize webpage. The deadline to apply is March 31.