Owned by the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation and operated under its auspices by the University of Maine.

Margaret Chase Smith Essay Contest

1964 Republican Convention
Margaret Chase Smith
Waving to Supporters
San Francisco, California
July 1964

2002 Margaret Chase Smith Essay Contest Flyer

2016 Essay Contest Flyer(PDF)

In 1960 the New York Times asked Senator Margaret Chase Smith what qualities she looked for in a president. Her response was clear and concise: "The most obvious qualities an ideal President should have are integrity, intelligence and fairness." With the 58th presidential election approaching, the Margaret Chase Smith Library wants to know what qualities Maine high school seniors, who will be eligible to vote for the first time, are looking for in a prospective president.

The rules of the contest are minimal. Essays must be typed and double-spaced. Contestants should provide contact information so they can receive notification of final results. Essays should be no longer than 2000 words. Quality of evidence, argumentation, and writing is more important than quantity of pages. The best essays support personal opinions with historical context and cited facts, so authors should not be shy about identifying past presidents they admire along with the reasons why.

Thanks to generous support from the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, prizes are $1000 for first place, $500 for second place, $250 for third place, and five $50 honorable mention prizes. Essays are due by April 1, 2016. Awards will be announced on May 1st. For sample essays and a list of past contest winners, click here. For more information, please contact John Taylor.

Margaret Chase Smith Library
56 Norridgewock Avenue
Skowhegan, Maine 04976
(207) 474-7133

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This page last modified: January 2016