Resources

Clinton campaign confirms planting town hall question, says it won’t happen again, FoxNews.com, November 10, 2007

Clinton aide plant student’s question, Scarlet and Black, November 9, 2007

Allegheny College Policy for Events Involving Candidates for Elected Political Office, November 21, 2006 (link to policy)

When Candidates Visit, Daniel M. Shea, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 4, 2006

A Close Eye–And Tight Grip–On Campaign Protestors, G. Jeffrey MacDonald, The Christian Science Monitor, September 27, 2004

History of the Soapbox

The original soapboxes were actual soapboxes: wooden crates for packing soap that became convenient and portable platforms from which people could speak to their fellow citizens in parks and other places where the public gathered. Perhaps the most famous site for this kind of discourse is London’s Hyde Park, where amateur orators have been gathering since the 1870s.

Soapbox orations have always covered a wide range of topics, but politics has been a perennial favorite. Although the soapbox has gotten a bad rap in recent years—with speakers who do more talking than listening being told to “get down off your soapbox”—soapboxes are still a valid metaphor for the type of authentic discourse that spurs free, open, and spirited debate.