The Bill of Rights Institute’s 2022 We the Students Essay Contest is open. This year’s topic is: “How does an understanding of natural rights and respect build a free society?” Answering the question requires an understanding of natural rights and how they relate to the principle of respect, and how the flourishing of a free society depends on them. To truly explore this question, in an essay between 500 and 800 words, students will need to go beyond “dictionary definitions” and express their understanding and reasoning about the connections among these principles. This reasoning involves a combination of observation, experience, and some “big ideas”: What does it take to understand the principles? To build toward and maintain them? To see them with regard to one another? Why are these relationships important? Students are encouraged to bring emotion, creativity, specific examples, and well-researched facts into what they write. A good essay will demonstrate how these principles are not just abstract ideas but part of people’s everyday actions and choices. The grand prize is $7,500 and a scholarship to the Constitutional Academy summer program in Washington, D.C.; five runners-up will each receive $1,500; and ten honorable mentions will each receive $500. Submissions are due April 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For more information, go here.