2014-2015 Student Essay Contest: Call for Entries

U.S. Capitol Historical Society News

In pursuit of its mission to promote the history of the United States Congress and American representative government, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society sponsors the annual Making Democracy Work Student Essay Contest. Entries for the 2014-15 contest must be submitted on or before June 5, 2015.

The nationwide contest is open to all students in two categories: a junior division contest for students in grades 6-8 and a senior division contest for students in grades 9-12.

Three prizes will be awarded in each division:

  • a first place prize of $1,000 and a trip to Washington, DC to accept the prize,
  • a second place prize of $500,
  • a third place prize of $250.
  • The schools of the two first place winners will also receive a $1,000 cash award.

“We are proud to offer talented students the opportunity to showcase their thoughtful perspectives about what it means to be an American citizen today,” said Ronald A. Sarasin, President of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. “We hope our contest will be a catalyst for an important national discussion about democracy, citizenship, voting rights, and our collective responsibilities as Americans.”

The topic of the 2014/2015 school year contest is: Why is voting rights an important issue in American History? The Voting Rights Act of 1965 will be 50 years old in 2015. Why is voting so important to this nation, and why has the extension of voting rights been such an important and controversial issue in American history? Some things you might want to consider in your essay: 1) the relationship between voting and citizenship; 2) how, when, and why voting rights were extended to various groups, and the arguments for and against such decisions; 3) how voting rights at various times have been denied or restricted at state and local levels to some citizens; 4) and what threats remain today to a citizen’s right to vote?

For more details on the contest theme and how to enter the contest, go to: 2014 Making Democracy Work Student Essay Contest.

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society is a congressionally chartered non-profit, non-partisan, educational organization founded in 1962. Its mission is to inform the public about the rich heritage of the Capitol and the Congress.