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Student Essay Contest

$500 Prize for Best Undergraduate Essay on Classical Liberalism

The Political Theory Institute is proud to announce its annual essay contest for the best student essay on classical liberalism. The winner of the contest will be awarded a prize of $500 at the annual SPA Awards Ceremony.

The contest is open to all AU undergraduates and is intended to foster critical reflection on the key authors, concepts, and arguments of classical liberalism, including but not limited to individual liberty, equality, democracy, constitutionalism, and commerce. As used here, classical liberalism denotes a topic, not an agenda, and the prize will be given to the most intelligent and well-argued essay on these topics regardless of philosophical or political perspective. Essays about the place of classical liberalism in the American political tradition are welcome.

Submissions can be, but need not have been, written for a class and should be between five and twenty pages (double spaced, twelve point font, one inch margins). Include your name, email, and phone number on page one of your submission. Essays may be nominated by either the author or a faculty member. 

The contest submission deadline will be in April 2015. Stay tuned for the precise date and instructions.

Inquiries or questions may be directed to Professor Alan Levine, Professor Tom Merrill, or Sarah Houser.

Past Essay Winners

2014 - Gabe Menchaca, "Staving Off the Beast: Discussing Self Denial in Mandeville"

2013 - James DeLucia, "Every Man For Himself: Frederic Bastiat and the Nature of Man"

2012 - Jessica Gioe, "The General Will as Protection from Tyranny"

2011 - James E Smith, "Letting Go of the Wolf: Jefferson, Slavery, and Classic Liberalism"

T.J. Whittle, "Locke's Religious Tolerance: A Freedom Based in Truth or Relativism?"

2010 - Joseph Reese, "Revisionist Elements in Classical Liberalism: Locke and Mill"