The Constitution and the Senate torture report

The Constitution and the Senate torture report

The Constitution and the Senate torture report

Podcast: The Constitution and the Senate ‘torture report’

Cuba as the next constitutional fight between Congress, Obama

Video: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the birth of the left and right

Constitution Check: Is Obama’s new immigration policy already in legal trouble?

The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day January 1, 2015

Tracking the fallout from the Senate ‘torture report’

Video: Justice Brennan’s fight to defend the First Amendment

The Museum is closing early on New Year’s Eve

The Museum will be closed on Christmas Day

Museum closing early on Christmas Eve

The Conscience of the Constitution

Justice Brennan’s Fight to Preserve the Legacy of New York Times v. Sullivan

Constitution Check: How much secrecy does the First Amendment give to political donors?

Learn about the Constituting Liberty exhibition

Watch Live: Bill of Rights Book Festival IV

Watch Live: Bill of Rights Book Festival III

Watch Live: Bill of Rights Book Festival II

Watch Live: Bill of Rights Book Festival

‘Constituting Liberty’ exhibition opens at the National Constitution Center

Video Replay: The Bill of Rights Day Book Festival

Video: Sneak Preview of ‘Constituting Liberty’ at the National Constitution Center

What is the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?

Why did Jefferson draft the Declaration of Independence?

Sneak Preview of ‘Constituting Liberty’ at the National Constitution Center

What do the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights really mean?

Jeffrey Rosen on the new Constituting Liberty exhibition

Remembering the day Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution

Constitution Check: Are children’s rights the key to solving global warming?

Supreme Court rules on workers’ pay, jury privacy

The Ferguson Debate And The Constitution

The Ferguson Debate And The Constitution

The Ferguson Debate And The Constitution

Podcast: The aftermath of Ferguson for the legal system

Dollree Mapp, a truly legendary figure in Supreme Court lore

Reagan at Reykjavik

The Supreme Court’s Plastic Reindeer Rule looms over the holiday season

10 Americans who’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize

Founding Freedoms Essay Contest

Founding Freedoms Essay and Playwriting Contest

The National Constitution Center is proud to host the Founding Freedoms Essay and Playwriting Contest, a new program designed to increase awareness of the rights set forth in the United States Constitution and other founding documents and to engage students to think creatively about our nation's great history.

Students in the 6th, 8th, and 12th grades are encouraged to participate by submitting an essay that responds to a grade-specific prompt.  12th grade students also have the option of writing a play that, if chosen as the winning submission, will be performed live at the Constitution Center by professional actors. 

This contest is currently open to students from the Delaware Valley region in public, private, and parochial schools, as well as registered home-study programs. The Center will expand the contest to the Mid-Atlantic region in 2015 and to the entire country in 2016. Essays and plays will be judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, creativity, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness.

Essay and Playwriting Contest Timeline:
•    December 2014 – January 2015: Essay and Playwriting Contest will open and submissions will be accepted through our online submission platform.
•    January 31, 2015: Last day for submissions.
•    March 14, 2015: On the eve of James Madison’s Birthday, Essay and Playwriting Contest winners will be announced in a formal award ceremony with all winners and their teachers present.
•    July 2, 2015: The winner of the Playwriting Contest will be in attendance for the first performance of their production.

First and second place prizes will be awarded to the top two essay submissions in each of the grade level competitions – 6th, 8th, and 12th grades. First and second place prizes will also be awarded to the top two play submissions (playwriting is only open to 12th grade students). Aside from the monetary prizes below, the winning submissions will also be incorporated into Town Hall debates the following year.  Every student participant will receive a certificate of participation from the National Constitution Center.
Essay Contest Prizes:

12th Grade Essay Contest Winners

8th Grade Essay Contest Winners

6th Grade Essay Contest Winners

Playwriting Contest Prizes:

12th Grade Playwriting Contest Winners
•    First Place: $2,500 to the student and $250 to the teacher. Travel and accommodations to student, teacher and parent/guardian to the March 14, 2015 awards ceremony and the July 2, 2015 public performance.
•    Second Place: $1000 to the student


Entries must be received by Friday, January 31, 2015; at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be notified by email by Monday March 1, 2015.

The 2014–2015 Founding Documents Essay Contest is open. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015. Additional information and full rules can be found by clicking here.

Please complete the following form and attach to your entry. If you have any questions about the contest, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



Essay and Playwriting Prompts:

6th Grade Essay Prompt:

How are the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights relevant to your life? (Minimum of 300 words)

8th Grade Essay Prompt:

What is the relationship between the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? (Minimum of 500 words)

12th Grade Students have the option of completing the essay contest OR the playwriting contest.

12th Grade Essay Prompt:

The National Constitution Center contains the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Why do people consider these the documents of Freedom? How do these documents work together to define and protect our rights? (Minimum of 1,000 words)

12th Grade Playwriting Prompt:

On the day that the Constitutional Convention concluded in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin famously told Mrs. Elizabeth Powel that the Founders had created “a republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

Write a play depicting the conversation that ensued, exploring the significance of Franklin’s statement and the advice he was giving the new nation.  A detailed playwriting prompt can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Click here to download Playwriting Guidelines.

Educators please click here for the FOUNDING DOCUMENTS Lesson Plan.


Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights

Reagan at Reykjavik

National Constitution Center receives $5.5 million grant to expand civic literacy

National Constitution Center Receives $5.5 Million Grant To Expand Civic Literacy

Constitution Check: Is the Court going to take the country back to the “Lochner era”?

Bill of Rights in Philadelphia on December 15


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A Dozen Activities on Bill of Rights Day at the National Constitution Center

Bill of Rights Exhibition Opens on Bill of Rights Day, December 15

National Constitution Center receives Templeton Grant

December 7, 1787: One down and eight to go

Do viral stories on the Internet protect our First Amendment freedoms?

When Congress last used its powers to declare war

Constitution Day 2014: The Bill of Rights

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Download the Constitution Day 2014: Bill of Rights Transcript.

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Live Chat: December 8-12 and 15-19, 2014, 7am-6pm EST.

Live Blog Hall Pass - Bill of Rights





Download the Constitution Day 2014: Bill of Rights Student Guide.

This engaging and interactive lesson is hosted by the museum’s education staff and scholars. Give your students a “hall pass” to travel through American history—without leaving the classroom! Constitution Hall Pass video lessons and live chats are a hit with millions of students and teachers nationwide. “Constitution Day 2014: The Bill of Rights” provides a behind-the-scenes look at how these 10 amendments were created and interpreted.
  • DISCOVER the roots of the Bill of Rights in the Revolutionary War and the state constitutions
  • VISIT the Constitutional Convention to listen in on the debates about a bill of rights
  • HEAR the voices of the ratifying conventions as they influenced James Madison’s work in writing the Bill of Rights
  • LEARN what the Bill of Rights actually says—and how long it’s taken to make those rights a reality
  • EXPLORE the process of judicial review and the ways citizens use the courts to bring the Bill of Rights to life

Pearl Harbor’s role in a historic Supreme Court decision

The case of the missing 13th amendment to the Constitution

Franklin Foer On 100 Years Of Politics and Culture

Bill Of Rights Comes To National Constitution Center On December 15!

Five interesting facts about Prohibition’s end in 1933

Free speech, Facebook and the Supreme Court

Free speech, Facebook and the Supreme Court

Theatre Program Associate and Stage Manager

Free speech, Facebook and the Supreme Court

Podcast: Free speech, Facebook and the Supreme Court

Grand jury declines to indict New York police officer for citizen’s death

Jeffrey Rosen discusses the UPS case on “The Diane Rehm” show

Constitution Check: Will a congressional scolding stop the Obama immigration policy?

Should high school students be required to pass a citizenship test?

David Field and Drew Katz join National Constitution Center Board of Trustees

Members Preview and Educator Open House for Constituting Liberty Exhibition

Supreme Court weighs pregnancy and workplace conditions

The language of protest: Race, rioting, and the memory of Ferguson

Video Replay: Bill of Rights Day Book Festival

100 Years of Politics and Culture in America

Video: 100 years of The New Republic

Constitution Check: Will the Supreme Court’s future be an election issue in 2016?

Charles Murray gives 12th annual John M. Templeton, Jr. lecture

Video: Charles Murray delivers 12th annual John M. Templeton, Jr. Lecture

Supreme Court raps in its own way in Facebook case

The 12th Annual Templeton Lecture for Economic Liberty and the Constitution

It was on this day that Rosa Parks made history by riding a bus

Supreme Court heads to the dogs, again, in January

Don’t look for a national Internet sales tax this holiday season

Constitution Check: Does the government have the authority to write restaurant menus?

What really happened at the first Thanksgiving?

Who started Thanksgiving and other holiday trivia!

Vote Now: Put Constitution Daily in the Blawg Hall of Fame

You can buy Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – for $8 million

Happy 225th birthday to Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation!

Constitution Check: Who is getting in line to sue President Obama?

Passenger pigeons, eels were on the Founding Fathers’ Thanksgiving menu

Manager of Prospect Research

Membership Manager

Celebrate Thanksgiving with “Constitution Hall Pass”

Add a new Defense Secretary to the nomination logjam

One big obstacle stands in way of House lawsuit against Obama

Supreme Court case tests limits of free speech on Facebook

Lawful or Awful? Scholars comment on Obama’s immigration action

The Constitution, immigration and executive powers

Shop for Materials

Pocket Constitution
Pocket Constitution
The Pocket United States Constitutions are 9-by-22 inches and fold into an approximately 3-by-3 inch square. Receive one FREE Classroom-Ready Resource when purchasing 150 or more Pocket Constitutions.
Constitution Day Kit
Constitution Day Kit
Everything you need for a Constitution Day lesson and activities. Comes with lesson plan, DVD, pocket constitutions and more!