2019 Coolidge Cup championship round debaters Ezra Schrader (left) and Joshua Anumolu (right)
The Coolidge Cup is a national invitational speech and debate tournament sponsored by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. It is held in President Coolidge’s historic hometown of Plymouth, Vermont, and takes place each year during the week of the Fourth of July. More than $15,000 in scholarship prize money is awarded to the top finishers. The competition days are July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. (Competitors should treat July 1st and 5th as travel days.) It is a fully chaperoned experience, and most travel expenses are covered for competitors.
The 2023 Coolidge Cup Schedule is available here. This is subject to change, so if at any time you want to make sure that you have the latest version, come back here and check.
How to Qualify
To compete in the Coolidge Cup, students must qualify in either declamation or debate through various Coolidge Cup qualifier competitions held across the country. See the list of qualifying methods for details. Ten students will compete in declamation at the Coolidge Cup, and over 90 students will compete in debate at the Coolidge Cup.
More than $15,000 in scholarship prizes will be awarded at the 2023 Coolidge Cup.
For declamation, the prize structure is as follows: 1st Place $1,000; 2nd Place $750; 3rd Place $500; 4th Place $250. The top 4 finishers in declamation will each receive a trophy. All declamation competitors will receive our Coolidge Cup leather notebook.
For debate, the prize structure is as follows: 1st Place $5,000; 2nd Place $4,000; 2 Semi-Finalists $1,000 each; 4 Quarter-Finalists $500 each. The top 8 finishers in debate will each receive a trophy. All octofinalists (the top 16) will receive our Coolidge Cup leather notebook and an automatic invitation to next year’s Coolidge Cup tournament.
For declamation, each student will declaim multiple speech excerpts from speeches by President Coolidge. Some of these declamations will be delivered in front of a small panel of judges, and some will be delivered in front of judges and peers at one of our larger assemblies. Students will be scored at each of these, and ranked based on their cumulative scores. These speeches are assigned a few weeks in advance of the tournament so that students may familiarize themselves with the material. It is not expected that students memorize the speech excerpts.
For debate, competitors will compete in four preliminary rounds over multiple days. The top 32 competitors will then move on to the elimination portion of the tournament, eventually ending in a championship round.
Speech Packet (for Declaimers), and Resolution & Research Brief (for Debaters)
For declaimers, the 2023 Coolidge Cup Speech Packet for declamation rounds 1-4 is posted here. You have all received your instructions for the showcase speeches via email.
For debaters, the resolution for the tournament is, “Resolved: Among U.S. Presidents, Calvin Coolidge should be ranked in the top 10, not 24th.” (For reference, in the most recent ranking of presidents published by C-Span, President Coolidge was ranked 24th.) The research brief is available here (PDF). The purpose of the brief is to help you get started on your case preparation. You are welcome and encouraged to use the brief as a starting point and build upon it by doing your own additional research and case-writing. You are not limited to the arguments and sources in the brief.
The intent of this resolution is to have students debate the relative merits and achievements of U.S. Presidents, with a focus on President Coolidge’s place in history. While it may be necessary to briefly explain or defend your choice of criteria by which Presidential performance should be measured, do not let your round to be dominated by argumentation about the fine details of ranking methodologies. Judges will be instructed to reward cases that primarily feature historical and economic arguments over cases that completely depend on methodological critiques.
Volunteer to Judge at the Coolidge Cup
The Coolidge Foundation highly values the idea of the “citizen judge,” as we believe that good speech and debate should be aimed at making a logical case that any person can understand. Volunteer judges do not need any prior experience in speech, debate, or judging. If you are interested in judging, take a look at our Information for Judges. We will provide all the judge training you need. If you are interested in judging, please Register to Judge.
Competitors are not obligated to provide a certain number of judges. However, if your coach or family member is joining you at the Coolidge Cup and is interested in judging, he or she can indicate that they would like to judge using the registration link above.
Register for the Coolidge Cup
Below is the registration form for the 2023 Coolidge Cup. If you have received and accepted an invitation from the Coolidge Foundation to compete in the 2023 Coolidge Cup, then please fill out this form. This is the form that truly makes your participation official! This information is extremely important to our planning and it is required in order to secure your spot. If you fail to register by the time we close this registration form on Thursday, June 1st, then you will not be able to compete at the Coolidge Cup.
Please do not fill out this form using a smart phone. It will not work. Use a computer.
Registration is now closed for the 2023 Coolidge Cup.
p.s. If you thought you registered, but you have not been receiving our emails with details about the Coolidge Cup, then your registration attempt did not go through.
2018 Coolidge Cup winners with Robert L. Luddy, Maria Luddy, Ben Voth, and Jared Rhoads