Oratorical

The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program

“A Constitutional Speech Contest”

Registration for the 2020 High School Constitutional Contest is now open – click here

The American Legion Oratorical contests can be financially as well as educationally rewarding. High School students who are U. S. citizens or lawful residents can hone their speaking skills while learning about the U.S. Constitution.

Department level scholarship awards range from $800 to $1500, with Zone runner-ups receiving $200. At the National level, they range from $14,000 to $18,000.

A contestant must register with their American Legion, Department of Michigan by November 19, 2019.  The Zone Chairman will notify you of the dates, times and locations of all contests at the District and Zone level.  All Zone contests will be conducted before February 10, 2020.

The Department contest will be conducted on March 7, 2020, at Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, at 1:00 pm. Anyone is welcome to attend. There will be opportunities to take photographs at the awards ceremony, but not during the actual contest. If space permits, an unattended, tripod-mounted video camera may tape the entire contest, but not a single contestant.  The American Legion, Department of Michigan reserves the right to preclude any videotaping if it prevents the audience present from fully enjoying the contest.

The four Constitutional amendments for the assigned topic are:

Amendment XII 

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice- President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;–The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;–The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice- President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President–The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Amendment XXIV 

Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXVII

No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Amendment XX

Section. 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Sec. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Sec. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Sec. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Sec. 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

Questions:  Contact American Legion, Department of Michigan headquarters at 517-371-4720 ext 123 or email at legion@michiganlegion.org.

1st Zone Oratorical Contest 2019-2020 TBD

2nd Zone Oratorical Contest 2019-2020 TBD

3rd Zone Oratorical Contest 2019-2020 TBD

4th Zone Oratorical Contest 2019-2020 TBD

5th Zone Oratorical Contest -2019-2020 TBD

What does a winning speech look like? 

Aaron Seibelink, the 2018 Department of Michigan Oratorical Contest winner gave his speech “1984=2018” at the Departments Annual Convention.

2020 Oratorical Tri-fold