For grade 12 and college/university students
Deadline: May 15, 2018
Select ONE of the following three topics:
An important early event in the novel is the destruction of the Phoenix-Durango. What factors make its destruction possible? How does this issue relate to the meaning and theme of Atlas Shrugged? In your answer, consider what Rand has to say in her 1962 essay “The Pull Peddlers.”
Capitalism’s defenders usually appeal to the “public good” as the moral justification of capitalism. Contrast this approach to defending capitalism with Ayn Rand’s approach in Atlas Shrugged. In your answer, consider what Rand has to say in her 1965 essay “What Is Capitalism?”
Francisco d’Anconia and his teacher, Hugh Akston, advise more than once: “Check your premises,” because contradictions do not exist. Identify at least two major apparent contradictions that the heroes of Atlas Shrugged encounter, and explain, with reference to the novel, what premises they need to check and correct in order for them to understand that these “contradictions” do not exist.
Essays will be judged on whether the student is able to argue for and justify their view—not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Atlas Shrugged.
Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased four-round judging process. Judges are individually selected by the Ayn Rand Institute based on a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Ayn Rand’s works.
To ensure the anonymity of our participants, essay cover sheets are removed after the first round. Winners’ names are unknown to judges until after essays have been ranked and the contest results finalized.
The Ayn Rand Institute checks essays with Ithenticate plagiarism detection software.
- No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.
- Entrant must be a 12th-grader, college undergraduate or graduate student for at least one semester during the school year in which the contest is held. The school year is considered to run August through July of the following year. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for students with nonstandard school years.
- To avoid disqualification, mailed-in essays must include a stapled cover sheet with the following information:
- your name and address;
- your email address (if available);
- the name and address of your school;
- topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the “Topics” tab);
- your current grade level; and
- (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay if you are completing it for classroom credit.
- Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.
- One entry per student.
- Essay must be submitted online or postmarked by May 15, 2018, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific time.
- The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.
- Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization. By submitting an essay to this Contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Ayn Rand Institute for any claim, demand, judgment or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
- Decisions of the judges are final.
- Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.
- All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned.
- Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via email and/or by mail by August 29, 2018.
- Winners are responsible for providing their mailing addresses and other necessary information under the law in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The first-place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.
- Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.
Protected by Ithenticate Plagiarism Detection Software
You will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of your entry within 24 hours. If it has been at least 24 hours, and you have not received e-mail notification, please e-mail email@example.com. Please check your junk e-mail for your notification. Please do not re-submit.
Students unable to submit their essays online may mail essays to:Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044
For mailed-in essays only—You MUST include a stapled cover sheet with the following information: your name; mailing address; e-mail address; the name and address of your school; topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the list above); your current grade level; the name of the teacher who assigned the essay (if applicable).Please do not submit duplicate essays!
If you wish to verify our receipt of your essay, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to the essay.
Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.