Each semester, we bring together more than 60 young leaders from across the country to participate in our internship program in D.C. They are given the opportunity of practical experience working on policy research, marketing, and business, and training in communication skills like blogging and public speaking. They learn about America’s founding principles while visiting important sites including the Pentagon, National Archives, and Mount Vernon. Combining an engaging curriculum with each intern’s individual talents and passion, the Young Leaders Program prepares students for success.

This summer, we challenged the interns to use their creativity to bring conservative principles to life. Heritage President Ed Feulner selected the winning projects. Alec Moen is the third place winner. Stay tuned for the second and first place winners this week.

We can learn quite a bit from a rhyme and a verse
And reflection on our past never made things worse
In this age of big government and secular pride
We must look to the Founding as our one true guide

The Founders held beliefs that apply to our lives
To say that they don’t is a political guise
The question that we will try to answer today
Is what did those first and great Americans say

“All possess certain unalienable rights”
This thought led to the revolutionary fights
With unanimous consent from the thirteen states
Fifty-six men signed, thus sealing all of our fates

For what did they risk their property and their lives?
For the right to be free and for free enterprise!
And from where did they think that true liberty came?
From their Creator, not the state – O what a claim!

And so much more than light and transient causes,
brought about these revolutionary clauses.
A history of repeated usurpations,
Led to our split with the then greatest of nations

They fought for life, for liberty, and the pursuit
To break away from Britain was the only route.
As soon as the lanterns above the old church shone
Mr. Revere took his midnight ride all alone.

Once the battle was won and the fighting had ceased
The king’s reign ended but stability decreased
How did we propose to secure our liberty?
By drafting a constitution we were made free

It created a system to protect us all
Separation of powers drives some up the wall
But a necessary check on tyranny ‘tis
So a man cannot rise up and think it all his.

The federal system gives us safeguards as well,
That way power resides where the people do dwell.
A sovereign people we are declared to be
And the land of the free shouted Francis Scott Key

We have come a long way from this initial zeal
We’ve fought wars and expanded and got a New Deal
While some change has been good, some parts have been less so
Some now view our past as a fading memento

Government is the answer to any question
Of the problems that afflict and ail our nation.
This massive expansion will not give up and yield
“This solution is great,” say those out in Left field.

Big government did not help the Russian people,
It hurt; it oppressed; and it took a massive toll.
The Founders freed us from an overbearing state
We must turn back our course before it is too late

Men are born free.  This is a self-evident right
And we should trust them to do whatever they might
But unfettered liberty turns into license,
What can save us from this political crisis?

A look back to the Founding and our nation’s roots
Can help us settle most of our current disputes
Understanding the past is the key for today
We can solve our problems the American way

What started as a protest on the Boston Dock
What was furthered by Jefferson, Jay, and Hancock,
What many derided and few thought could last
What we zealously defended with canon blast

Is the land of the free and the home of the brave
Which cannot be submerged by a big statist wave
A place where freedom was encouraged to flourish
Will not fall to a model that is so boorish

We were built on principles that we still hold true
The greatest achievement of the red, white, and blue
Men have fought and died defending this privilege
Now we must protect our American Heritage!

Alec Moen is a recent graduate from Vanderbilt University in philosophy and political science. He is starting law school at Saint Louis University this fall.