2019 Essay Contest Info Coming Soon!

“. . . if you can keep it.”

The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

This exchange was recorded by Constitution signer James McHenry in a diary entry that was later reproduced in the 1906 American Historical Review.

— written by John McManus, New American issue 06 November 2000.

This year’s Essay Contest is centered on Benjamin Franklin’s reply to Mrs. Powell.

What do you think he meant when he stated, “if you can keep it”?

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

Things to consider when writing your essay:

  1. Why do you think our founders chose a Republic over a Democracy?
  2. Why do you think people, including elected officials, news commentators, educators and many US Citizens mistakenly think we are a Democracy?
  3. Why is it important for us to understand the difference?
  4. What did our founders have to say regarding a Democracy?
  5. Why is our Constitution essential to our Republic?

When researching your paper, you may want to read Dr. Walter Williams Essay: “Are We a Republic or a Democracy?” This essay can be found on our website.

  1. There are three age categories: 12-14 yrs., 15-18 yrs., & 19 and older (no age restriction)
  2. An independent panel will decide the “best in each age category”.
  3. Essays are limited to no more than 500 words
  4. Submit essays by email to: elizabethallanhodge@gmail.com
  5. Deadline for essay submission is May 15, 2018.
  6. First place winners will receive a scholarship to the 2018 Northwest Liberty Academy.

2017 Essay Contest Winners: Jaxom Whipple (12-14 yrs); Jessica Collett (15-18 yrs); Travis Whipple (19 and older)