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. 
High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers.
Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long; three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.

2021-2022 Oratorical Schedule

Post: To finish no later than February 27, 2022

District: To finish no later than March 6, 2022

Department: March 12, 2022 in Great Falls, MT

National: April 22-24, 2022 in Indianapolis, IN

Oratorical Scholarship Awards

Post and District awards vary depending on the Post or District commitment to the program.

All contestants will receive $175.00 for competing in the Pool

Oratorical award amounts are based on the number of District Winners certified and received at Department by the published deadline.

If we have more than six 6 contestants:

We will host two pool contestants in the morning by dividing contestants, and then the department finals will be in the afternoon. Pool Awards for the two Pools are $285 for 1st Place and $175 for 2nd Place each. The other places will not receive any awards and will be dismissed.

If we have six 6 contestants or less:

 We will skip the pool contests and hold the department finals in the morning. We will take the pool awards money and offer it as awards to all 6 places. Finals Awards will be divided based on placing as follows: 6th- $100; 5th- $125; 4th- $150; 3rd- $175; 2nd- $200; and 1st- $300.

Department Scholarship awards are $1,500 for 1st Place, $750 for 2nd Place, $450 for 3rd Place and $400 for 4th Place.

The Department winner competes at the National Contest in Indianapolis, IN. The awards at National include $2,000 for competing in the first round plus another $2,000 if you reach the second round. Pass the second round into the finals and you are competing for $25,000, $22,500 or $20,000 for placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the Nation.

Additional Information


How to Participate

Rules and information for participation


Assigned Topics

Review the assigned topics for upcoming oratorical contest.


Additional Resources

How to conduct a contest, rules, judges scorecard, brochures and more

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