Since 1874, a handful of American college classrooms have hosted generations of students practicing the art of oratory. Throughout the intervening decades, students involved in the Interstate Oratory Contest have, to varying degrees, addressed the compelling social, political, economic and educational issues of their time. When one considers the shifting socio-political landscape of the 1960s, this decade seems a far cry from the rhetorical contexts that gave rise to speeches for the previous nine decades. Did stock issues give way to Woodstock issues? An analysis of the Interstate Oratory winning orations from the 1960s raises numerous questions. To what extent do the speeches reflect the emerging notion of student empowerment? How are the compelling social movements of the day, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, and the Anti-War Movement, reflected in the discourse of the decade? Do the 1960s' orations signal the generic properties observed by previous researchers?



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