The AMERICAN LEGION, Department of Maryland, during this school year, again sponsors an Oratorical Contest for high school students in Maryland. The purpose of the contest is to develop knowledge and appreciation of the United States Constitution, the ability to think and speak clearly and critically, and the acceptance of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship.  In recent years, the American Legion has partnered with the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association and the National Speech and Debate Association to offer programs to young people interested in this sort of activity.  They are awarded points for participation in the Legion contests.  

​Prepared Oration
Each contestant shall deliver a prepared oration, which must be an original effort. The oration must address some aspect of the Constitution of the United States, which emphasizes the attendant duties and obligations of a citizen to our government. Possible subjects include:
  • An American Citizens Rights and Responsibilities Under The Constitution
  • Our Constitution - Worth Having, Worth Defending
  • The Constitution in a Changing World
  • The Constitution in Our Everyday Life 
  • The Bill of Rights - Reciprocal Rights and Duties
  • The Constitution - Guardian of the People’s Rights
Assigned Topic Discourse
In addition to a Prepared Oration, contestants must be prepared to speak on a specific article or amendment to the Constitution. The National office chooses four each year and contestants will prepare a speech for all four. However, only one is chosen, at random, during a contest and all contestants will speak on the same article or amendment. Contestants are sequestered during the contest so they do know know which choice was drawn until it it their turn to speak.  See below for the list of selected assigned topics for the year. 
 Awards for 2020
We are happy to announce that starting in the 2020 contest, the national scholarship values have increased! This year contestants in the National Finals receive scholarships of
  • 1st place $20,000
  • 2nd place $17,000
  • 3rd place $15,000
  • All state winners who participate in first-round National contests receive $2,000 scholarships.
  • All second-round contestants receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. 
And next year, the national scholarship values will increase again! This is to recognize not only the rising costs of college tuition but also the value of the oratorical skills and constitutional knowledge in our youth. Starting in 2021, winners in the National Finals receive scholarships of
  • 1st place $25,000
  • 2nd place $22,500
  • 3rd place $20,000

The Department of Maryland awards the following medals and scholarships at State Finals:
  • 1st Place Gold Medal and $3,000
  • 2nd Place Silver Medal and $2,000
  • Others (3rd +) Bronze Medal and $750

Maryland District, County, and Post scholarship or cash awards vary.

Contact Us! ​Choose the District of the County in which you live or go to school:

Baltimore District: Baltimore City
Mountain District Counties: Allegany, Garrett
North Central District Counties: Baltimore, Harford, Howard
North Eastern Shore District Counties: Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot
South Eastern Shore District Counties: Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester
Southern Maryland District Counties: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince Georges, St. Mary's
Western Maryland District Counties: Carroll, Frederick, Washington

​National American Legion, Oratorical Program

Department of Maryland Headquarters

Department Oratorical Chair, ​Anita Trotter 

Assistant Adjutant ​Steve Tatro

Copyright © 2019
Assigned Topics for 2020
Amendment 12
The Twelfth Amendment provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced the procedure provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, by which the Electoral College originally functioned.
Amendment 20
The Twentieth Amendment covers the terms of President and Vice President, when Congress shall assemble and the Articles of Presidential succession.
Amendment 24
The Twenty-fourth Amendment prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. 
Amendment 27
No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.