Demosthenian Literary Society

Demosthenian Literary Society

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The Demosthenian Literary Society is a debating society at The University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

 in Athens
Athens, Georgia
Athens-Clarke County is a consolidated city–county in U.S. state of Georgia, in the northeastern part of the state, comprising the former City of Athens proper and Clarke County. The University of Georgia is located in this college town and is responsible for the initial growth of the city...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. It was founded in 1803 by the first graduating class of the University's Franklin College. The society was founded on February 19, 1803 and the anniversary is celebrated now with the Society's annual All-Night Meeting. It was named after the Greek orator Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

. On November 10th, 2011 Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

 was made an honorary member of the Society.

History


Augustin Clayton, Williams Rutherford, and James Jackson
James Jackson (congressman)
James Jackson was a United States Representative from Georgia, a judge advocate in the American Civil War, and a chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. Jackson was also a trustee of the University of Georgia...

 are recognized as the founding fathers of Demosthenian. Clayton became the first student to receive his diploma from Franklin College and went on to become a judge of wide respect and a U.S. Representative from Georgia, with Georgia's Clayton County
Clayton County, Georgia
Clayton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population was 236,517. The 2008 Census estimate placed the population at 273,718. The county seat is Jonesboro...

 being named in his honor. Rutherford and Jackson went on to become professors at Franklin College.

After 167 years of male-only membership, the first female members of the Society were inducted on March 4, 1970 . President Sherrill Watkins presided over the initiation of Kathy Conrad, a freshman from Atlanta, and Bebe Herring, a junior from Athens. By the late 1970s, female members were heavily active in the Society and held numerous offices - even President. In 2008, the Society put forward its first all female Inter-Society Debate team. The four women swept the debate on warrantless wiretapping and FISA reform, winning the votes of all three judges and the alternate. Today, the Society has more female than male members.

Demosthenian Hall was constructed in 1824 at a cost to the Society of $4,000. This construction of the Hall gave the Society a place to keep its growing library, which surpassed that of the University's main library. In recent years, the Demosthenians have hosted two debates with the Oxford Union
Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, Britain, whose membership is drawn primarily but not exclusively from the University of Oxford...

, splitting the contests 1-1. The Demosthenian Literary Society meets weekly Thursday nights at 7:00 during the Fall and Spring semesters at Demosthenian Hall on the historic North Campus of The University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

.

Campus involvement


Over the past 200 plus years, the society has enjoyed a diverse group of students who have been proud to call themselves members. In recent years students from a wide array of majors spanning North and South Campus have come to the society to take part in the debate and intellectual discourse that the society has come to be known for.

Members of the society are often heavily involved on campus having a hand in over 60 campus organizations. These groups include but are not limited to every political affiliated organization on campus, The Red and Black
The Red and Black
The Red & Black is an independent daily student newspaper of the University of Georgia.-History:Students published its first issue in tabloid format on November 24, 1893, from offices in the Academic Building on North Campus....

, numerous service and honor societies, WUOG, CURO, Greek Fraternities and Sororities, fencing and are also affiliated with every major religious (UGA Atheists, Club Baptist Student Union, Pagan Student Association, Catholic Student Union) and ethnic group on campus.

Robert's Rules


All meetings of the Demosthenian Literary Society are run in accordance with Parliamentary Procedure as set out in Robert's Rules of Order
Robert's Rules of Order
Robert's Rules of Order is the short title of a book containing rules of order intended to be adopted as a parliamentary authority for use by a deliberative assembly written by Brig. Gen...

.

Extemporaneous Debate


The style of debate undertaken at normal meetings of the Demosthenian Literary Society is that of Extemporaneous Debate. In this style, only the presenters know what topics are to be debated at the meeting, and all subsequent speeches are performed based on prior knowledge and without extensive preparation, though notes can be taken during other speeches. During their speeches, the speakers are also subject to questions, preferably of a non-rambling nature, from the audience and the bench. All speeches are limited to five minutes (with few exceptions), and hand signals are provided to the speaker when he/she has three minutes, two minutes, one minute, thirty seconds, and fifteen seconds left in his/her speech.

Elections


Elections of the Demosthenian Literary Society take place during the second to last meeting every semester. Nominations take place during the two meetings immediately prior to elections. The meetings during which elections take place are the only meetings that guests are discouraged from attending.

Speaker's Points


Members of the Demosthenian Literary Society are awarded Speaker's Points for outstanding service to the society and participation in related activities. Services and activities worthy of Speaker's Points include: taking part in hall cleanings, taking part in special programs, and serving as an officer or on a committee. Points are awarded by the President, the Judicial Council, and Committee heads. Accumulation of points is necessary to hold certain positions in the society and to obtain a Speakers Key.

Speaker's Keys


In the past, after accumulating 32 speakers points, members can purchase a Speakers Key. The Speakers Key is a gold lapel pin that shows a member's devotion to the society. After a decade long hiatus, speakers keys returned to the Society in late 2007. The new Speakers Keys were first awarded at the annual All Night Meeting on February 16, 2008.

The All Night Meeting


Every year, on the Saturday that falls closest to February 19, the Demosthenian Literary Society hosts its annual All Night Meeting. The meeting takes place between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am the following morning, and opens with guest speakers and continues with debate between both current members and alumni of the Society. Those members who stay until the end of the meeting are awarded a Speaker's Point.

Officer Positions


Members of the Society, upon receiving enough speakers points or being in the society for a certain amount of time, are eligible to run for officer positions. The Society has 12 officers. They are President, Vice President, Secretary, Chief Justice, two Associate Justices, Treasurer, Hall Administrator, Historian, Sergeant-at-Arms, Librarian and Custodian. The offices of Treasurer, Hall Administrator and Historian are all year long positions elected every Spring while the others are elected semesterly.

Faculty Adviser


The Society has a faculty adviser who serves as a liaison between the University of Georgia and the Society. The current adviser is John Knox
John Knox (meteorologist)
John Knox is a meteorologist who researches clear-air turbulence and who also received media attention for discussing ways of calculating the mathematical constant e, together with inventor Harlan J. Brothers....

 a professor in the Geography Department.

Standing Committees


The Society has several committees that members can be a part of. They committees include Public Relations, Programs, Alumni Relations, Digital Media, Finance and Hall Preservation. Alumni Relations is responsible for the yearly All Night Meeting and is thus a year long committee while the rest are appointed semesterly. The only requirement of serving on a committee is that you must be a member of the society. The Vice President serves over all the committees and appoints the heads of each at the beginning of every semester unless otherwise specified in the Society's constitution.

Annual programs


The Demosthenian Literary Society is known for several events it holds annually during the Fall and Spring semesters.

The Hat Debate


A tradition dating to the fall of 1995, members and guests are called up one by one to pull a resolution out of a hat and then give a presenting speech in the affirmative. Participants are given five minutes maximum to make a case for the resolution and must present the resolution they pulled from the hat. Many times these resolutions are of a humorous nature.

Oration/declamation


Because the Society traditionally participates in impromptu debate, once a year a meeting is dedicated to original orations and famous or not so famous declamations. The meeting takes place in two parts. The events are considered a competition with the winner of each event winning a speaker's point. The competition is judged by the members of the Judicial Council. The competition normally takes place in early April.

Intersociety Debate


Each spring the Demosthenian Literary Society holds a debate with the rival literary society at the University of Georgia. Generally, the debate is held in the Hatton-Lovejoy courtroom on North Campus. However, in 2007 the debate was held in the Athens Clarke County Courthouse and the 2008 Intersociety Debate was held at the University of Georgia Student Learning Center. The judges are professors from the University of Georgia and are drawn from a hat (using the names from a negotiated list approved by both the Demosthenian Society and the Phi Kappa Literary Society) as per the 2007 Intersociety Agreement. Demosthenian won in 2008 snapping a 4 year win streak by Phi Kappa and adding additional wins in 2009 and 2011.

Famous alumni

  • William Yates Atkinson
    William Yates Atkinson
    William Yates Atkinson was the 55th Governor of Georgia from 1894 to 1898.Atkinson graduated from the University of Georgia with an LL.B in 1877. He married Susie Cobb Milton in 1880...

     former Governor of Georgia
  • John Barrow U.S. Congressman
  • Pope Barrow
    Middleton P. Barrow
    Middleton Pope Barrow was a United States Senator from Georgia. Born near Antioch, Georgia in Oglethorpe County, he attended a private academy and graduated from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in 1859 and from the School of Law in 1860...

     U.S. Senator
  • Robert Benham first African-American Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court
  • William Tapley Bennett Jr.
    William Tapley Bennett Jr.
    William Tapley Bennett Jr. was an American diplomat who served as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic during the 1965 civil war....

     diplomat
  • D. W. Brooks
    D. W. Brooks
    David William Brooks was an American farmer and businessman.Born in Royston, Georgia, Brooks enrolled at the age of 16 at the University of Georgia and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and an Master of Science in Agriculture . While working on his Masters, Brooks also taught...

    , founder of Gold Kist
    Gold Kist
    Gold Kist was a large chicken producing company in the United States south. It was founded in 1933 by D.W. Brooks, a University of Georgia agronomy instructor as the Cotton Producers Association, a cooperative to help farmers in Carrollton, Georgia, market cotton. It soon grew and diversified...

  • John A. Campbell
    John Archibald Campbell
    John Archibald Campbell was an American jurist.Campbell was born near Washington, Georgia, to Col. Duncan Greene Campbell...

     U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  • William Ragsdale Cannon
    William Ragsdale Cannon
    William Ragsdale Cannon was an American Bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1968.-Birth and Family:...

    , United Methodist bishop
  • Augustin Clayton Statesman, Judge, U.S. Congressman from Georgia
  • Hugh M. Dorsey
    Hugh M. Dorsey
    Hugh Manson Dorsey was an American lawyer who was notable as the prosecuting attorney in the Leo Frank trial of 1913. He was also a politician, a member of the Democratic Party who was twice elected as the Governor of Georgia , and jurist, who served for years as a superior court judge .-Early...

     Governor of Georgia
  • Joel Furr
    Joel Furr
    Joel K. "Jay" Furr is a writer and software trainer notable as a Usenet personality in the early and mid 1990s....

     First person to refer to junk e-mail as "spam"
  • Phil Kent
    Philip A. Kent
    Philip A. Kent, aka Phil Kent, is a media consultant and president of Phil Kent Consulting, Inc.He frequently appears on national news and talk radio as a media commentator and is the author of "The Dark Side of Liberalism." Phil Kent also served as press secretary and public affairs advisor to...

     political consultant
  • Jack Kingston
    Jack Kingston
    One of the counties he represents is Wheeler County.John Heddens "Jack" Kingston is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party.- Early life, education and career:...

     U.S. Congressman
  • Crawford Long
    Crawford Long
    Crawford Williamson Long was an American surgeon and pharmacist best known for his first use of inhaled diethyl ether as an anesthetic...

     Physician
  • Count Emilio Pucci
    Emilio Pucci
    Emilio Pucci, Marquis of Barsento , was a Florentine Italian fashion designer and politician. He and his eponymous company are synonymous with geometric prints in a kaleidoscope of colours.-Early life:...

     fashion designer
  • Ralph Reed
    Ralph E. Reed, Jr.
    Ralph Eugene Reed, Jr., is a conservative American political activist, best known as the first executive director of the Christian Coalition during the early 1990s. He sought the Republican nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Georgia but lost the primary election on July 18, 2006,...

     political consultant
  • Charles Henry Smith better known as writer Bill Arp
    Bill Arp
    Charles Henry Smith was a Georgia politician who as a writer used the nom de plume Bill Arp for nearly 40 years...

  • Herman E. Talmadge U.S. Senator and former Governor of Georgia
  • Robert Toombs
    Robert Toombs
    Robert Augustus Toombs was an American political leader, United States Senator from Georgia, 1st Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and a Confederate general in the Civil War.-Early life:...

     U.S. and Confederate
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

     statesman
  • Arthur Hinds
    Emerald Rose
    Emerald Rose is a Celtic folk rock band from Georgia of the United States. The band consists of four members: Brian Sullivan , Larry Morris, Arthur Hinds and Clyde Gilbert. Emerald Rose plays a mix of Celtic, folk, and Pagan tunes.- Biography :...

    , member of the Celtic/Pagan band Emerald Rose
    Emerald Rose
    Emerald Rose is a Celtic folk rock band from Georgia of the United States. The band consists of four members: Brian Sullivan , Larry Morris, Arthur Hinds and Clyde Gilbert. Emerald Rose plays a mix of Celtic, folk, and Pagan tunes.- Biography :...

  • Beth Shapiro
    Beth Shapiro
    Beth A. Shapiro is an American evolutionary molecular biologist. She has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the Pennsylvania State University since 2007. Shapiro's work has centered on the analysis of ancient DNA...

    , Rhodes Scholar and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant"

Honorary Members

  • Carl Sagan
    Carl Sagan
    Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

  • Robert E. Lee
    Robert E. Lee
    Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

  • Martin Luther King Jr
  • Stephen Colbert
    Stephen Colbert
    Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. He is the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, a satirical news show in which Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political pundits.Colbert originally studied to be an...

  • Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

  • Andrew Jackson
    Andrew Jackson
    Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...


Other Historic American Debate Societies

  • The Philolexian Society
    Philolexian Society
    The Philolexian Society of Columbia University is one of the oldest college literary societies in the United States, and the oldest student group at Columbia...

     of Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

  • The Philomathean Society
    Philomathean Society
    The Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania is a collegiate literary society, the oldest student group at the university, and a claimant to the title of the oldest continuously-existing literary society in the United States.This claim is disputed between the Philomathean Society and...

     of the University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania
    The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

  • The American Whig-Cliosophic Society
    American Whig-Cliosophic Society
    The American Whig–Cliosophic Society is a political, literary, and debating society at Princeton University and the oldest debate union in the United States...

     of Princeton University
    Princeton University
    Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

  • The Philodemic Society
    Philodemic Society
    The Philodemic Society is a student debating organization at Georgetown University. It was founded in 1830 by Father James Ryder, S.J., in whose honor an award is given every Spring at the Merrick Debate. The Philodemic is among the oldest such societies in the United States and is the oldest...

     of Georgetown University
    Georgetown University
    Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

  • The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society
    Jefferson Literary and Debating Society
    The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society is a debating and literary society at the University of Virginia. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest organization at The University and one of the oldest continuously existing debating societies in North America....

     of the University of Virginia
    University of Virginia
    The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

  • The Union-Philanthropic (Literary) Society of Hampden-Sydney College
    Hampden-Sydney College
    Hampden–Sydney College is a liberal arts college for men located in Hampden Sydney, Virginia, United States. Founded in 1775, Hampden–Sydney is the oldest private charter college in the Southern U.S., the last college founded before the American Revolution, and one of only three four-year,...

  • The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...


Further reading

  • Coulter, E. Merton. College Life in the Old South. Reprint edition. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, c1983.

External links