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Law Day Art Contest 2016: Celebrating the 240th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

Sponsored by The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section

For Law Day, May 1, 2016, The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section (YLS) is sponsoring an art contest for Missouri elementary school students. This year’s theme is Celebrating the 240th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The contest entries are due on February 26, 2016.

The Big Ideas in the Declaration of Independence

In 1776, what is now the United States of America was an area that belonged to several nations in Europe – mainly England, France and Spain. In the area along the Atlantic Ocean, there were 13 colonies (they later became states) that were ruled by England. At that time King George III ruled all of England, including these 13 colonies.

However, most colonies had their own government for two reasons. First, because England was so far away and it took months to travel between these colonies and England, it only made sense for each colony to have its own government. Secondly, and most importantly, most of the people who had come to the colonies came because they wanted to make their own laws rather than do what the king thought they should do. They wanted more freedom than what a king allowed.

Although each colony had its own government, they were very much alike. Each colony had a group of people they elected who made the laws, they each elected a governor to make sure that people followed the laws, and they each had courts where people who broke the law got a fair trial.

Unfortunately, King George of England did not like that the colonial people had set up their own governments and he found ways to take away some of the freedoms the people had. This made the colonists mad and they got together and sent the king the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They told him that a good government was about these ideas:

  1. All people are equal. No one is better than anyone else, including the king.
  2. People are born with certain rights. They are life, liberty and the right to find ways to be happy. These cannot be taken away by anybody, including the king.
  3. A government is made up of the people who have to live with the rules that the government makes so all power is with the people, not a king.
  4. Everyone, even the king, has to obey the laws that the people make.

King George was very upset when he received the Declaration of Independence so he sent his soldiers to force the colonists to obey him. The colonists fought back in what we now call the Revolutionary War. They won the war and after the war, the colonists got together and formed a new country – the United States of America. This why we have a special celebration every July 4th and this year is a special birthday for the Declaration and for our country – 240 years!

How to enter

In celebration of Law Day, The Missouri Bar encourages educators, parents and others to have students participate in this fun, educational contest. All Missouri schools are encouraged to dive into the theme and discover our common heritage of justice under the rule of law. Winners will receive awards and prizes!

Contest rules

The art contest has two divisions, Kindergarten-Grade 2 and Grades 3-5. All mediums of art will be accepted, including pencil drawings, water colors, oil paints, pen and ink, etc. Entries should be no smaller than 8” x 10” and no larger than a standard poster board.

  • Entries must be received by February 26, 2016.
  • Please include the entry form on the back of the entry. [Download here]
  • Entries are limited to one per student in each contest.
  • Entries will not be returned unless requested prior.

All entries will be judged based on originality and interpretation of the theme. Winners will be announced by March 5. The winners and their teachers will be honored at The Missouri Bar Outstanding Citizens luncheon on March 14. The winning entries will be posted on The Missouri Bar’s website. Winning entries also will receive a certificate.

All teachers who have their classes participate in the art contest will be entered into a drawing for gift certificates. 

Mail art entries to:

FedEx or UPS
Law Day Poster Contest
The Missouri Bar
c/o Millie Aulbur
326 Monroe
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Law Day Poster Contest
The Missouri Bar
c/o Millie Aulbur
P.O. Box 119
Jefferson City, MO 65102


Questions should be directed to Millie Aulbur, director of Citizenship Education for The Missouri Bar, at milliea@mobar.org.

Past Law Day Art Contests

2015 Law Day Art Contest

2014 Law Day Art Contest

2013 Law Day Art Contest


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