How It Works

There are two parts to the contest, the prepared oration and an assigned topic.

Prepared oration: The subject to be used for the prepared oration must be on some aspect of the United States Constitution with emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. (The same subject and oration used in the department contest must be used in the national contest.) The prepared oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must not take up less than 8 minutes or more than 10 minutes for delivery.

The assigned topic: The purpose of the assigned topic is to test the speaker’s knowledge of the subject, the extent of his or her research, and the ability to discuss the topic as related to the basic principles of government under the Constitution. The topic will be on some phase of the Constitution. The assigned topic must not take up less than 3 minutes or more than 5 minutes for delivery. The assigned topic shall be drawn at random by the contest official in full view of the audience.

*All contestants at each contest level are required to speak in English.

How do I register?

A: Contestant must register with the American Legion Department of Michigan by Typically in November. If you are a teacher and have a class would like to participate please email American Legion Post 1111 at

Who is eligible to participate?

A: All contestants must be a U.S. citizen and a bona fide student (described as any student under the age of 20 years) on the date of the national contest. They must be presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or state accredited home school) in which the curriculum of said high school is considered to be of high school level, commencing with grade nine and terminating with grade 12.

What are the scholarship opportunities available?

A: National Level:

1st place - $18,000, 2nd place - $16,000, and 3rd place - $14,000

Department Level:

1st place - $1,500 2nd place - $1,000, and 3rd place - $800

Zone Level:

1st place - $200

District/Post Level:

Varies depending on the post or district. Some give prizes while others do not.

How can I prepare?


  • Dress in business attire.

  • Watch videos of previous National Oratorical Contest speeches at

  • Practice, Practice, Practice with a coach. (we can help you find one).

  • Watch your timing

  • The speech is not about you

  • Have a prepared speech for each of the assigned amendments

  • Props are not allowed.

  • Notes on stage are not allowed

  • No microphones will be available.