About the Oratorical Contest
The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. The American Legion continue to be an elimination system featuring nine first-round quarter-final contests, three second-round semi-final contests and a national finals contest involving three finalists. Effective in 2020 the scholarship award structure for the annual national oratorical contest of The American Legion will be $188,000 as follows:
- • Up to 53 department winners competing in the first-round quarter-final contest receive $2,000 each
- • Up to 15 first-round winners advancing to the second-round semi-final contest who are subsequently eliminated receive $2,000 each
- • First place national contest winner receives $20,000
- • Second place national contest winner receives $17,000
- • Third place national contest winner receives $15,000
Annual Oratorical Timeline
- The Oratorical contest will be held in Provo at the Courthouse on March 13, 1:00pm start. Contestants be there at noon. We must hold an in person contest to send a contestant to national.
- Posts were mailed one chairman guide and several brochures. The rules brochure is online and will not be mailed out. (See link below) This site has all the information that a post will need to run a contest: videos, scripts, briefings, etc. At department we follow the national procedures and highly encourage posts and districts to follow suit so all contestants know what to expect if they make the next level of competition.