The stump speech is one of the oldest methods of direct campaigning in U.S. politics. In the early days of the Republic, political candidates would address potential voters standing on a literal stump in the center of town. Today, stump speeches refer to standard, oft-repeated speeches that candidates repeat at many of their campaign stops.
Stump speeches are designed to be repetitive, easy for the candidates to remember, and introduce the candidate to the people. They are used to make promises and test policy stances in front of the electorate. As a rule, they are not dramatic or noteworthy, but serve a valuable role in defining and differentiating candidates and their governing philosophies.