The stump speech is as American as apple pie, and it dates back to the early 1800s when candidates stood on actual tree stumps to deliver their message to a crowd. For generations, candidates have said a lot in a small amount of space:
“America is a nation of idealists.”
-Calvin Coolidge, 1925
“The old ways will not do.”
-John F. Kennedy, 1960
“Federal government is overgrown and overweight.”
-Ronald Reagan, 1980
Today, because they are always speaking to different audiences, political candidates use the stump speech to keep their ideas focused and consistent.
If you were running for political office, how would you address America’s biggest challenges? If you only had six words to influence or guide our nation, which ones would you choose?
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Address America: Your Six-Word Stump Speech is a civic engagement project from the National Constitution Center in collaboration with SMITH Magazine, home of the Six-Word Memoir® project, that coincides with the 2012 U.S. presidential election. It gathers thousands of six-word stump speeches from around the country, like:
"Paging Dr. Drew. Government needs rehab"
"Raising taxes just raises blood pressure"
"Bipartisanship is the key to success."
So what’s your six-word stump speech? Here's how you can participate:
Text it. Enter your six-word stump speech online.
Teach it. Download the six-word stump speech activity for your classroom.
Here’s where you can learn more about Address America and our partners: