Controversial Speech Topics

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Speeches can be intimidating, and that feeling of being “on stage” seems all the more concerning when you have to talk about a controversial subject. The most important factor to consider when planning your controversial speech is choosing a good topic that fits your personality. You will know if a topic is a good fit for you if it meets certain criteria:

  • The topic stirs an immediate emotional reaction in you
  • The emotional reaction is ​ not so strong that you risk “losing it” if someone disagrees
  • You can think of at least three important facts or subtopics to help you take a stand and organize a sound case

Use the topics below as inspiration for your assignment, whether you are planning to write a controversial speech or an argument essay . Each topic is followed by a brief prompt, but that prompt is not the only way to approach your topic. The list is designed to inspire ideas. You may choose a different approach to one of the topics.

Controversial Topics for Persuasive Speeches

  • Abortion —Under what circumstances should it be legal? You may want to consider age and health issues.
  • Affordable Care Act —Is an individual’s access to healthcare a legitimate concern of the federal government ?
  • Adoption —Should citizens from wealthy countries be able to adopt children from Third World countries? Should gay couples adopt?
  • Age Discrimination —Should the government create policies to ensure that employers don’t discriminate based on age?
  • Airport Security Measures —How much privacy are we willing to sacrifice in the name of flight safety?
  • Animal Rights —When we promote animal rights, do we restrict human rights? What is the proper balance?
  • Arms Control —Who's responsible for controlling arms trades around the world?
  • Arms Trading —What are the ethical implications?
  • Birth Control —What concerns do you have about age? Access? Affordability?
  • Border Control —What measures are ethical? 
  • Bullying —Are we all guilty in some way? How can we reduce bullying?
  • Crimes on College Campuses —How can students stay safe?
  • Censorship —When is it necessary for public safety?
  • Chemical Weapons —When are they ethical? Are they ever?
  • Child Labor —Where in the world is this a problem today? Is it your problem?
  • Child Abuse —When is it OK to step in?
  • Child Pornography —Is individual privacy more important than child safety?
  • Cloning —Is cloning ethical ? 
  • Common Core —What is the truth? Is it dumbing down our students?
  • Conservation —Should the government promote conservation?
  • Cutting and Self-Harm —When should you say something if you suspect cutting is happening?
  • Cyber Bullying —When are we guilty?
  • Date Rape —Are we doing all that we can? Do we blame victims?
  • Death Penalty —Is it ever okay to kill someone? When is it okay in your opinion?
  • Disaster Relief —Which measures really work? 
  • Domestic Violence —When should we speak up?
  • Drinking and Driving —Do you know someone who pushes the boundaries?
  • Drug Trade —Is the government doing enough? What should change?
  • Eating Disorders —What if you suspect a friend has a problem?
  • Equal Pay —Are we making progress?
  • Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide —Where are the ethical boundaries? What if a loved one was facing this choice?
  • Fast Food —Should the government have a say about fast food menus?
  • Food Shortages —Do we have an ethical obligation?
  • Foreign Aid —How much of a role should your nation play?
  • Fracking —What about your own backyard?
  • Free Speech —Is this more important than public safety?
  • Gang Violence —How can it be reduced? What are the causes?
  • Gay Rights —Are we making progress or are we regressing? 
  • Gerrymandering —How much should we control when it comes to drawing lines?
  • GMO Foods —How do you feel about labeling? Should we label all modified foods?
  • Global Warming —Where is science? What do you think?
  • Government Surveillance —Is it OK for the government to spy in the name of public safety?
  • Gun Laws —What does the Second Amendment really mean? 
  • Habitat Destruction —Should the government protect animals from human encroachment?
  • Hate Crimes —Should hate crimes result in stiffer penalties?
  • Hazing —When do fun and tradition become dangerous behavior? Who decides this?
  • Homelessness —How much should we do for the homeless?
  • Hostage Release/Trade —Should the government ever negotiate?
  • Human Population —Should it ever be controlled? Are there too many people on the planet?
  • Human Trafficking —Are governments doing enough to protect the innocent? Should they do more?
  • Internet and Gaming Addiction —Are teens at risk? Should there be limits to teen access?
  • Juvenile Delinquency —When should teen criminals be treated as adults?
  • Illegal Immigration —What is the most ethical response? Where should we draw lines?
  • Legalization of Marijuana —What is the impact?
  • Mass Shootings —Is this a mental health problem or a gun control problem?
  • Media Bias —Is the media fair and balanced? How has the internet made things better or worse?
  • Medical Records and Privacy —Who should have access to your medical information?
  • Meth Use —How do we educate young people about the hazards?
  • Military Spending —Do we spend too much? Too little? Is this a safety issue?
  • Minimum Wage Increase —What should be the minimum?
  • Modern Enslavement —How do we end it? 
  • National Rifle Association —Are they too powerful? Not powerful enough?
  • Obesity in Children —Should this be a government concern?
  • Outsourcing Jobs —When do we dictate to businesses about outsourcing, and when do we be “hands off?”
  • Photobombing —Is this a privacy concern? Are there legal issues to consider?
  • Poaching —How do we protect endangered animals? What penalties should be in place?
  • Prayer in Schools —Whose business is this? Does the government have a say?
  • Prescription Drug Use —Are teens over-drugged? What about younger children?
  • Racial Profiling —Have you been a victim?
  • Racism —Is it getting worse or better?
  • Rape Trials —Are victims treated fairly? Are the accused?
  • Recycling and Conservation —Do we do enough? Is it anybody’s business what you do?
  • Same-Sex Marriage —Is this a problem or a non-issue?
  • Selfies and Social Media Images —Is self-image becoming a mental health issue?
  • Sex Trade —How can we stop this?
  • Sexual Promiscuity —When is it dangerous? What should we do?
  • Sexting —How is this dangerous and destructive?
  • School Vouchers —Should they exist?
  • Social Networking and Privacy —Who has the rights to your image? Your reputation?
  • Stand Your Ground Laws —How much is too much when it comes to self-defense?
  • Standardized Tests —Are they fair?
  • Stem Cell Research —What is ethical?
  • Teen Depression —Who is in danger?
  • Teen Pregnancy —Is education effective enough?
  • Teens and Self-Image —What is harmful?
  • Terrorism —How do we fight it?
  • Texting While Driving —Should it be illegal?
  • Violence in Movies —Is it harmful?
  • Violence in Music —Is this art?
  • Violence in Schools —Are you safe? Where do we draw the line between freedom and safety?
  • Violence in Video Games —What are the effects?
  • Water Shortages —Who has rights to water?
  • World Hunger —Is it our obligation to feed others?
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30 Good Controversial Speech Topics

Here is a list of good controversial speech topics to consider using for your next presentation.

Remember these are ideas for controversial speeches, so you don't want to just inform your audience of the subject. You need to pick a side and make an argument that your view on the topic is the right one.

Good Controversial Speech Topics - 1 to 10

public speaking controversial topics

  • alcohol has a more significant negative impact on society than marijuana
  • use of certain performance-enhancing drugs should/should not be allowed by athletes
  • condoms should/should not be offered in high schools
  • the voting age should be lowered to 16
  • parental consent should/should not be required for underage pregnant women to have abortions
  • gay couples should/should not be given the same legal rights as heterosexuals in adopting children
  • couples should/should not be banned from adopting children overseas
  • the USA and its allies should/should not have invaded Afghanistan
  • age discrimination should/should not be made illegal in the workplace
  • age of consent laws should/should not be lowered

Confederate War - controversial speech

  • the sale and consumption of alcohol should be illegal
  • attorney-client privilege should/should not be abolished
  • the assassination of a dictator can/cannot be justified
  • assisted suicide should/should not be legalized
  • beauty contests are/are not harmful
  • boxing should/should not be banned
  • voting in elections should/should not be compulsory
  • the Confederate flag should/should not be banned
  • corporal punishment is/is not a justifiable method of punishing children
  • schools should/should not be allowed to teach creationism along with evolution
  • the "double jeopardy" rule should/should not be abolished
  • public officials should/should not be randomly tested for drugs
  • feminism is/is not relevant today
  • there should/should not be public schools open to only one race
  • it is/is not justifiable to force gay/lesbian celebrities out of the closet in the interest of gay rights
  • polygamy should/should not be legal
  • countries that benefited from slavery should/should not compensate the descendants of slaves
  • schools should/should not have the right to search students' lockers
  • voting rights in the United Nations General Assembly should/should not be restricted countries with democratic political systems
  • violent video games should/should not be banned or restricted

Good controversial speech topics

I hope you found a few good controversial speech topics that inspired you! If you've written a controversial speech and would like to share it with visitors to Best Speech Topics, please send it in ! I'd love to hear from you.

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205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate

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Amanda Green was born in a small town in the west of Scotland, where everyone knows everyone. I joined the Toastmasters 15 years ago, and I served in nearly every office in the club since then. I love helping others gain confidence and skills they can apply in every day life.

controversial speech topics

Do you think social media platforms should censor politicians? No matter how important you feel this issue is relative to other issues of the day, you’re likely to have an opinion one way or the other. Why? Because it’s a controversial matter, and it immediately pushes some buttons in our brains.

What makes issues like this so engaging?

Controversial topics have two features that almost instantly grab people’s attention. On one side, they are both simple and familiar, and so are understandable without any effort. On the other side, they touch on sensitive matters that society as a whole has not yet come to terms with. This makes them tickle our inherent desire for closure. We want to make up our minds once and for all!

So if you’re looking for such a topic for your essay, speech, or debate, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve compiled a list of hundreds of controversial issues organized by subject matter (You can visit our page on how to write a persuasive controversial essay if you want to improve your base skills). Whether you’re trying to come up with a topic for your science, psychology, history class – or nearly any other topic! – you’re sure to find an issue below that will keep your audience engaged, and even stir up some discussion.

In this article:

Political Debate Topics

Controversial criminal justice topics, controversial religious topics, controversial topics for teens, controversial science topics, controversial sports topics, controversial food topics, controversial nutrition topics, controversial animal topics, controversial topics in psychology, controversial relationship topics, controversial medical topics, controversial topics in nursing, controversial topics in biology, music controversial topics, controversial art topics, controversial history topics, funny controversial topics, what are the pros and cons of controversial topics.

As mentioned earlier, picking a controversial topic almost guarantees that you’ll command your audience’s attention. But such issues have downsides too. We go over the advantages and disadvantages of hot-button issues to help you make the right choice for your essay, speech, or debate.

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  • Immediately engaging – Your readers or listeners are unlikely to doze off.
  • Easy to find information on – You won’t have to look far to find credible information on controversial issues.
  • Likely to keep you absorbed while researching – What’s interesting for your audience will probably keep boredom at bay for you too.
  • Too sensitive for some people – These issues often have a strong emotional charge and may even be taboo for some, causing awkward situations.
  • Hard to review all points – A huge debate has probably been raging on such topics, so it’s not so easy to cover all your bases and appear knowledgeable on the issue at hand.
  • Hard to wrap up – These matters are controversial for a reason. It may be hard to come to a satisfactory conclusion, whether you’re presenting or debating.

Interesting Controversial Topics by Field

Below, we’ve compiled a catalog of fascinating controversial topics by field. Keep in mind that many of these spill over from one category to another, so there is some overlap. Is climate change a political or scientific issue? There’s a controversial question for you!

Controversy is where politics are born. There’s usually some point of disagreement about any matter related to public affairs – that’s why a politician’s main job is to debate and come to an agreement (ideally) on how to handle these issues. Or, as political scientist Harold Lasswell put it succinctly, politics is, “Who gets what, when, how.”

So political issues are controversial by definition. We’ve worked hard to provide you with the longest, most comprehensive list you’ll find anywhere, and any of these topics may be instantly captivating.

  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Should there be a minimum wage?
  • Should the government intervene in the free market?
  • Should the US government intervene in foreign affairs?
  • Should there be term limits for US senators?
  • Should the Electoral College be abolished in the US?
  • Are there exceptions to the freedom of speech?
  • Should hate speech be banned?
  • Should the government ensure the protection of privacy?
  • Is the gender pay gap real?
  • Does institutional racism exist in the US?
  • Is affirmative action helping or hurting?
  • Is immigration helping or hurting the US?
  • Should all illicit drugs be legalized?
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Should abortion be banned?
  • Should there be stricter gun control laws?
  • Should automatic weapons be banned?
  • Should military service be mandatory?
  • Should water be a commodity or a human right?
  • Should the government forgive all student debt?

Is justice being served? Few things get under people’s skin as much as perceived injustices. We are more or less programmed to seek fairness both for ourselves and for others. That’s why, similar to political topics, criminal justice issues are naturally engaging.

Appropriate punishment is salient now especially in the US after years of debates and protests related to the killings of minorities like George Floyd, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice. More recently, the storming of the US Capitol, the role the President’s words had in inciting the perpetrators, and how liable they are when following their President’s words, are also hot-button issues. It’s hard to go wrong with a criminal justice topic.

  • Is the death penalty ethical?
  • Should people be jailed for drug-related offenses?
  • Should police officers be charged for inappropriate use of force?
  • Why are minorities disproportionately represented in the US prison population?
  • Why does the US have the largest prison population in the world?
  • Should mentally unstable people be charged with crimes?
  • Should underage repeat offenders be tried as adults?
  • Should there be more than 12 jurors in a jury?
  • Should felons be allowed to vote?

Religion is a sensitive issue everywhere. Since it often concerns people’s innermost beliefs and principles, it’s not difficult to capture your audience’s attention with a religious topic. But beware that it’s also very easy to offend someone if you’re not careful.

Take religious freedom, for example – a concept interpreted in very different ways by different people. When in 2012 a Christian baker in Colorado refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, was he exercising his religious freedom or discriminating against LGBTQ people?

  • Is atheism a religion?
  • Does religion do more harm than good?
  • Should creationism be taught in schools?
  • Should there be religious education in schools?
  • Should religious symbols be banned from schools?
  • Should schools’ curriculums consider religious points of view?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?
  • Should religious institutions pay taxes?
  • Are most religions inherently sexist?
  • Is Buddhism more peaceful than other religions?

The teenage years are a transition period between childhood and adulthood, which causes a natural struggle between treating teens as children or adults. Can we hold teenagers accountable for crimes they committed? Or should their parents be responsible? Issues like this make a lively debate inevitable.

  • Should we lower the voting age to 16?
  • Should we lower the drinking age to 18?
  • At what age should teens be allowed to date?
  • At what age is it appropriate for teens to have sex?
  • Should sex education be mandatory in school?
  • Should teenage pregnancies be terminated?
  • Should teens have access to birth control?
  • Is cyberbullying as bad as real-life bullying?
  • Is peer pressure good or bad?
  • Does social media cause an increase in teenage suicide?
  • Are beauty pageants harmful to teenagers’ self-esteem?
  • Should teens be allowed to keep secrets from parents?
  • Should energy drinks be banned for teenagers?
  • Should mobile devices be banned at school?
  • Is the school grading system effective?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?
  • Should teens be allowed to get tattoos?
  • Should vaping be prohibited for teens?

Are you looking for more controversial topics for teens? Check out our other article where you can find 170+ controversial debate topics for teens , as well as the dos and don’ts when debating controversial topics.

Science has a very specific way of addressing controversies – by looking at evidence. When scientists disagree on something, they have to back their views with data and logical arguments. But scientific questions are often taken outside the realm of the experts and turn into social, political, or economic issues.

That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the concept of false equivalence – a fallacy in which a flawed or misleading argument is presented as equivalent to a sound and logical one. For instance, scientists have shown that the preponderance of evidence points to the reality of climate change. Media outlets and some politicians, however, sometimes present the issue as not settled. No matter whether climate change is real or not, saying that a politician’s opinion is as valid as a scientist’s – when we’re talking about that scientist’s field – is a false equivalence. Issues like that are bound to create a heated (pun intended) debate.

  • Can scientists ever be objective?
  • Should corporations fund research?
  • Should science be optional in school?
  • Why are women underrepresented in science?
  • Is STEM education more valuable than training in humanities?
  • Should cryptocurrencies be regulated?
  • Should net neutrality be restored?
  • Should robots have rights?
  • Is AI a menace to humans?
  • Is AI the next stage in evolution?
  • Is technology helping or destroying Earth?
  • Can renewable sources of energy replace fossil fuels?
  • Is climate change a threat to humanity?
  • Is cell phone radiation dangerous?
  • Is climate change reversible?
  • Should all cars be electric?
  • Is nuclear energy safe?
  • Does alien life exist?
  • Could alien life have found Earth?
  • Should humans try to colonize Mars?

Professional sports hold a lot of potential to create controversy. Hardly a week goes by without some major sports issue making the news. Whether it’s deflated footballs, kneeling during the anthem, or equal pay for male and female athletes, sports topics usually carry an emotional charge as most people have a strong opinion one way or the other .

  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
  • Are professional athletes paid too much?
  • Are professional athletes good role models?
  • Should college athletes be paid beyond scholarships?
  • Should college athletes be tested for drugs?
  • Is dance a real sport?
  • Is video gaming a real sport?
  • Is bodybuilding a real sport?
  • Is cheerleading a real sport?
  • Should mixed martial arts be banned?
  • Should women compete against men in sports?
  • Should female athletes be paid the same as male athletes?
  • Should transgender athletes who used to be male compete in women’s sports?
  • Do the Olympics do more harm than good for the cities hosting them?
  • Are professional sports too damaging to athletes’ health?
  • Is American football too dangerous for athletes?
  • Should athletes who kneel for the anthem be sanctioned?

Sharing a meal with others unites us, but our opinions on food often divide us. Why is one part of the world starving, while another struggles with obesity? Is famine a result of a shortage or a distribution problem? Questions about food are important for humanity, which makes them compelling topics for discussion.

  • Are genetically modified foods dangerous?
  • Should genetically modified foods be labeled?
  • Is organic food better than regular food?
  • Is fast food responsible for obesity?
  • Is food waste unavoidable?
  • Is organic farming sustainable?
  • Is factory farming unsustainable?
  • Is grass-fed beef better than corn-fed beef?
  • Is palm oil production causing deforestation?
  • Can biotech foods save us from hunger?
  • Should butter be stored in the fridge?

Nutrition is one of the most controversial scientific fields – dietary guidelines seem to be changing by the day. Is it OK to eat more than two eggs a day? Are carbs more unhealthy than fats? Issues like that are notoriously hard to resolve as even a carefully designed scientific study struggles to untangle the many factors that go into human health.

  • Should we have nutrition classes in schools?
  • Can a vegan diet help the environment?
  • Is it healthier to be vegetarian?
  • Is an all-meat diet healthy?
  • Is dieting ever effective?
  • Does fasting help or harm the body?
  • Are gluten-free diets overhyped?
  • Should we ban trans fat?
  • Is sugar addictive?
  • Are artificial sweeteners unhealthy?

Bring up the practice of eating dog meat in some countries to a dog lover, and you’ll more than likely evoke a very strong reaction. But how is it different from eating other social and intelligent mammals, such as pigs? There are many unresolved animal issues that can make for a captivating paper or presentation.

  • Should animals have the same rights as humans?
  • Should animals be considered individuals?
  • Do animals have emotions?
  • Do animals have consciousness?
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Should the fur industry be restricted?
  • Are zoos helping or hurting animals?
  • Should there be animals in circuses?
  • Should we try to reverse extinction?
  • Are humans destroying animal habitats?
  • Is selective dog breeding unethical?
  • Should bullfighting be banned?
  • Should whaling be banned?

Many argue that psychology as a science is still in its infancy. There’s no consensus on a lot of the big questions related to people’s minds. Is there even a way to know what’s happening inside someone else’s head besides our own? A behaviorist would insist there isn’t.

  • Is psychology a real science?
  • Is depression a real disease?
  • Are antidepressants effective?
  • Is ADHD a real mental disorder?
  • Is drug abuse a mental health issue?
  • Is mental illness equivalent to physical illness?
  • Should psychologists be allowed to prescribe drugs?
  • Is prejudice against different people inherent?
  • Is it ethical to “treat” homosexuality?
  • Are social media sites addictive?
  • Is social media connecting us or making us more isolated?
  • Is pornography harmful to the psyche?
  • Do video games cause violence?
  • Is intelligence inherited?

Being in a romantic relationship involves constantly negotiating and renegotiating issues ranging from the most mundane to the most profound. On top of that, most adults are or have been part of a couple, making this a relatable and attention-grabbing subject.

  • Is monogamy natural?
  • Does divorce harm children?
  • Should dating between co-workers be allowed?
  • Should people date people much older than themselves?
  • Is romantic love a prerequisite to marital satisfaction?
  • Should arguments in a couple be avoided or encouraged?
  • Should men and women have different functions in a relationship?
  • Is it OK to keep secrets from your partner?
  • Are long-distance relationships worth it?
  • Is sex before marriage wrong?
  • Is online dating good or bad?
  • Are homosexual relationships natural?
  • Should same-sex marriage be banned?
  • Should LGBTQ people be allowed to adopt children?

Health is arguably the most important thing for a person. So it’s no surprise that we take issues related to health and medicine very seriously. Is there any point in prolonging a dying patient’s pain through life support? Questions like this are hard to give a definitive answer to, making them potent discussion topics.

  • Are vaccines safe?
  • Is Covid-19 manmade?
  • Should immunization be mandatory?
  • Should euthanasia be allowed?
  • Is alternative medicine any good?
  • Should healthcare be free?
  • Is obesity a disease?
  • Is circumcision healthy?
  • Is stem cell research ethical?
  • How harshly should medical malpractice be punished?
  • Should Big Pharma be banned from charging too much for life-saving drugs?
  • Should prescription drug manufacturers be held responsible for the opioid crisis?
  • Should cannabis be prescribed as medicine?
  • Should surrogate pregnancy be allowed?
  • Should we use gene-editing in humans?
  • Should the sale of human organs be allowed?
  • Should genetic screening of embryos be legal?

If nurses are essential workers, why do they get paid so little? To get to the bottom of this, we need to go beyond the nursing profession and take a hard look at society as a whole. Besides, just like doctors, nurses face ethical dilemmas in their work every day, which creates a lot of room for debate.

  • Are nurses compensated fairly?
  • Should nurses’ shifts be shortened?
  • Should nurses be allowed to prescribe drugs?
  • Is the nursing profession better suited for women?
  • Should nurses use artificial hydration and nutrition?
  • Should nurses treat non-compliant patients?

Biology deals with nothing less than life itself! And what’s a more fascinating question than the origin of life? Although we seem to be far from deciphering this mystery, there are many other issues that both scientists and laypeople have good reason to debate.

  • Is evolution up for debate?
  • Did life emerge out of inorganic matter?
  • Is there a viable alternative to the theory of evolution?
  • How significant are the physiological differences between men and women?
  • Is behavior determined by our genes or by our upbringing?
  • Are there more than two genders?

If you’re a classical music lover, you’ll very likely scoff at the assertion that rock ‘n’ roll is the best musical genre. But who’s to say? Maybe someone will argue that there are objective measures of the quality of music. As with any issue that’s close to many people’s hearts, music can be an excellent topic for discussion.

  • Is music getting worse over time?
  • Is the pursuit of profit ruining music?
  • Do music streaming services such as Spotify help or harm musical artists?
  • Are violent or explicit lyrics harmful to society?
  • Are rock stars a bad influence on children?
  • Are The Beatles overrated?

Do you think Banksy will go down in history as one of the great artists, or do you see his works as cheap stunts? Either way, you’ll probably agree that art has changed almost beyond recognition since the time of Rembrandt. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is just one topic worth exploring.

  • Is the value of art subjective?
  • Should explicit art be censored?
  • Who decides what constitutes art?
  • Should an art piece always carry a message?
  • Is contemporary art as good as classical art?
  • Should any topic be out of bounds for art?

Hardly anyone would disagree that we should learn from history to avoid making the same mistake twice. But what exactly are history’s lessons is up for debate, and so make for great discussion topics.

  • Are the two World Wars responsible for the relative state of peace since?
  • Should the US pay reparations to African Americans because of slavery?
  • Should Confederate statues in the US be taken down?
  • Was Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?
  • Was the French Revolution inevitable?
  • Is history always written by the victors?
  • Is history bound to be repeated?

Are cats better pets than dogs? Does pineapple belong on a pizza? These are the kind of age-old debates we look into in our Funny Controversial Topics page.

Top 5 Extraordinary Motivational Speakers

130 Awesome Speech Topics for Kids

7 thoughts on “205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate”

Which is better, Chicago pizza or New York pizza?

Hey Nicole, just to answer your question personally I think Chicago pizza is too thick and I would choose New York pizza any day.

In my opinion Chicago pizza is clearly superior, and its thickness is one of its best attributes.

In my opinion New York pizza is clearly superior, and its thinness is one of its best attributes.

I second Chicago pizza lover’s statement, I think that Chicagos pizzas are much better!

In my very Italian opinion, true real pizza is Made in Italy only – the best. Cheers x 🙂

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Controversial Speech Topics That Will Wake Your Audience


Controversial speech topics in public speaking and writing should not give you shudders especially when everyone is trying to pull the right strings and walk the safe path. You will learn skills that will help you evoke opinions that are strong enough to move your audience, on both sides of the argument. The scope of controversial issues today is just too wide to be ignored. This gives you as a speaker a special place in addressing these issues in numerous fields and to tread slippery grounds playing the devil’s advocate.

The importance of developing argumentative skills is through extensive writing college students have to do in the course of their study.  College writing skills  help students learn the art of critical thinking that comes handy in defending various positions of arguments. A skill that runs through different settings, including political talks and public policy forums. You need this skill as a college student ahead of your final dissertation proposal to energize your argument positions.

What Are Controversial Topics?

Controversial issues are those which span various positions of an argument and often result in disagreements. Controversial persuasive speech topics involve discussions on these issues. Controversy is known to evoke strong emotions especially if it compromising one’s beliefs, values, and ethical principles.

Why Is It Important To Raise Controversial Topics?

Issues leading to controversy are often unspoken. But this is not the position social educators hold today. How else do students acquire substantive knowledge that enhances their understanding of the social world? Speech topics for college students are not only designed to deepen their scope of oratory ideas and the ability to identify good persuasive speech topics but also instill in them a rare capacity to deliver thoughtful judgments and informed decisions amid issues of controversy. Every student needs the knowledge of these controversial topics to craft an informative speech.

How To Choose A Speech Topic?

The initial step towards a successful presentation is your choice of informative speech topics. Most students often get it wrong because they choose topics which they barely deliver. The knowledge of your audience should help shape your topic to resonate with them perfectly. And lastly, is your interest in the topic. Choose a topic that claims much of your interest to increase your credibility during the presentation.

List of Controversial Speech Topics For 2019-2020 Schoolyear

And now let’s explore different examples of controversial topics in various spheres of life. These are among the most interesting topics to talk about in a speech and the most likely to feature in your college writing, classified by field, purpose, and different groups. Knowledge on these topics will equip you with a thorough understanding of the world as well as coming up with a catchy write up such as essays and research proposals. So  why is writing important in education ? Writing and presenting speeches are particularly essential at the college level since they ultimately prepare you to engage with the world and its diverse demography throughout the course of your profession.

  • No negative political campaigning should prevail
  • Electronic voting: concerns around security and privacy.
  • A President governing  a nation by a set code of ethics
  • Abolition of the electoral college
  • Black Lives Matter VS Blue Lives Matter
  • What is the impact of minimum wage on employment?
  • Tax rates are too high
  • Governments bailing out banks and financial institutions
  • Should farmers receive financial protection from perils such as droughts and pests?
  • Labor unions
  • The national deficit
  • Political campaign finance reforms
  • Differences in salaries: professional athletes vs. military men and women
  • Student loan debt

Social policy

  • Women have less wealth. How to fix this.
  • The American welfare state
  • Culture wars: Stigma and discrimination
  • Social work and service delivery issues
  • The spread of hate and racism
  • Causes and effects of world wars I and II
  • The advent of legalized abortion
  • Feminism and women rights
  • Botched executions and the death penalty in America
  • Make personal health records public
  • Medical malpractice protection
  • Ethics around the study of human genetics
  • Medical marijuana and its benefits
  • Animal testing and experiments

Nature and Environment

  • Should we continue using pesticides and harm the environment?
  • Recycling programs should be mandatory
  • Garbage output should be restricted on a weekly basis
  • Global warming: is it happening or mere propaganda?
  • The US-Iraq war was wrong
  • Where is lasting peace for the Middle East?
  • The US should stop playing the world policeman
  • Diplomacy or force? What should we do with North Korea?
  • We shouldn’t allow Iran to go nuclear

Law and order

  • Outlaw capital punishment
  • Firearms with high-capacity magazines should be outlawed
  • Mandatory federal sentencing and its impact
  • How safe are shall-issue laws for concealed carry permits?
  • Prisoners have their rights
  • Should churches continue enjoying their tax-exempt status?
  • Why do churches say NO to divorce?
  • Organized religion has no place in society today
  • Teaching religion in public schools: does it benefit society?
  • Holy Spirit in Christian churches today

Science and researches

  • Use of eugenics to enhance humans
  • Implanted GPS
  • Should we refrain from using genetically modified food products
  • Hormone replacement therapy and ovarian cancer
  • Is human cloning ethical?
  • Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia
  • Should there be slavery reparations?
  • Partial-birth abortion
  • Protection and individual nourishment of children in “the system.”
  • Every person’s life should be protected
  • Sex offender notification
  • Same-sex marriages: legal or illegal?
  • LGBTQ’s have their rights
  • Birth control: it’s regulation and availability
  • Men to take their share in the birth control burden


  • Gambling; legal or illegal
  • Rock and roll is the best kind of music
  • Why advertising alcohol and cigarettes should be banned
  • Social impact of violent video games
  • Body tattooing among other body art
  • Age limit for sexual education
  • Homeschooling and its impact on children
  • Should bilingual education be mandatory?
  • Evolution or creation? Which one should be taught in public high schools?
  • Schools have fallen short of their life skills classes.
  • Walmart needs to implement a dress code
  • Smoking is actually good for you
  • Are cats better companions than dogs?
  • Teenagers should be given credit cards
  • There are benefits in texting while driving.


  • Sex trade should be stopped
  • Is media fair and balanced
  • Legalization of marijuana: what is the impact?
  • The US does not negotiate with terrorists.
  • Government surveillance and public safety


  • Social networking and online privacy
  • Freedom of speech on social media
  • The government should put an end to income inequality
  • Replace the electoral college by popular vote
  • Fuel efficiency of vehicles


  • Self-help books. Do they actually help?
  • “Pride House” for LGBTQ athletics
  • Teens and self-image
  • Adoptive parents should allow biological parents access to the children they gave birth to
  • Teen depression
  • Increase or lower the age of consent?
  • Prohibition vs. drug legalization
  • Chemical and biological warfare
  • Outdoor smoking bans vs. claims to public space
  • Free press vs. fair trial

For Different Groups

For college students.

  • Implanted GPS is an infringement on privacy
  • Availability of HIV drugs kits on drug counters
  • Should mass school shootings be given media attention?
  • The ethics of combining human and animal DNA in stem cells research
  • Health insurance companies’ use of genetic information and medical history of their clients to assess their insurance worthiness.

For high school students

  • Should prayers be imposed in schools?
  • Single parents should not be allowed to adopt
  • Nature vs. nurture. Is going green legit and working?
  • Religion is essential for spiritual growth in a society
  • No adult content should be allowed to feature in cartoon and other programs watched by children
  • Disarming Americans may lead to civil war
  • Journalism is the art of intellectual prostitution
  • Hunting should be encouraged since it brings in money for state and local enterprises
  • Why the all-male court culture has failed
  • The ethics of Drone warfare

The above list puts to rest your quest for good topics to write a speech on. They are the most popular speech topics taking into account both the longstanding controversies in human history and the emerging issues in society.

Therefore, as you begin thinking about your dissertation or thesis proposal at the end of your course, you need to explore some of the persuasive topics above and write extensively to hone your skills. Students are encouraged to think about unique topics for their dissertation papers early in their degree programs and prepare their proposals for approval. A good proposal includes a statement of the problem or a topic of persuasion you seek to explore and the context in which you want to present your ideas. Then a thorough review of the literature relevant to the research problem.

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157 Controversial Informative Speech Topics: Provocative Ideas for Your Papers

May 22, 2023

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May 22, 2023 | Topics

Exploring Debates and Perspectives. In academia, informative speeches foster critical thinking and intellectual discourse. However, finding topics that inform, stir controversy, and elicit diverse viewpoints can be challenging. This article aims to assist students and researchers in their quest for thought-provoking and contentious subjects by presenting a curated list of controversial informative speech topics. From exploring ethical dilemmas to examining societal taboos, we’ve compiled a list that provides a range of captivating themes that will ignite lively discussions and encourage deeper insights into the complexities of our world.

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What Is An Informative Speech?

An informative speech is a presentation or discourse that aims to educate or enlighten an audience about a specific topic or subject matter. Unlike persuasive speeches that seek to sway opinions or motivate action, informative speeches primarily provide factual information, explanations, and insights to enhance the audience’s understanding of the chosen subject. The primary goal of an informative speech is to impart knowledge, clarify concepts, or shed light on complex ideas in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. To achieve this, speakers often conduct extensive research, gather relevant data, and organize their content in a logical and structured format. Informative speeches can cover various topics, from historical events and scientific discoveries to cultural practices and social issues, allowing speakers to share valuable information and spark intellectual curiosity among their listeners.

What are controversial speech topics?

Controversial speech topics evoke strong disagreements, debates, and conflicting viewpoints among individuals or within society. These topics often concern sensitive or contentious issues, challenging widely held beliefs, societal norms, or moral values. Controversial speech topics can encompass various domains, including politics, religion, ethics, social justice, scientific advancements, and more. These subjects generate passionate discussions and arouse emotions, involving divergent perspectives, conflicting interests, and complex dilemmas. Exploring controversial speech topics encourages critical thinking, examines multiple viewpoints, and fosters intellectual engagement by delving into controversial ideas, encouraging listeners to question assumptions, and encouraging open-mindedness and respectful dialogue.

How to Select a Suitable Informative Speech Topic?

Selecting a suitable informative speech topic requires careful consideration and a thoughtful approach.

  • Firstly, identify your target audience and their interests, as the topic should resonate with them.
  • Next, consider your knowledge, expertise, and passion, as speaking on a subject you are genuinely interested in will make the presentation more engaging.
  • Research current trends, news, and issues to find relevant and timely topics.
  • Also, choose a topic with sufficient credible sources and information available to ensure thorough research. Strive for balance by selecting a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow, allowing you to provide comprehensive yet concise information.
  • Finally, consider the potential impact and implications of the topic, aiming to educate, inspire, or raise awareness among your audience.

By following these guidelines, you can select a suitable informative speech topic that aligns with your audience’s interests, your expertise, and the overall goals of your presentation.

Best Persuasive Speech Topics

  • The Power of Empathy: Building Stronger Connections in a Divided World
  • Harnessing Renewable Energy: A Sustainable Future for All
  • Unlocking Creativity: Embracing the Arts in Education
  • Overcoming Stigma: Mental Health Awareness and Support
  • Promoting Gender Equality: Empowering Women in Leadership
  • Preserving Endangered Species: Conservation Efforts for a Balanced Ecosystem
  • Ethical Consumption: Making Informed Choices for a Better World
  • Addressing Food Insecurity: Strategies for Hunger Relief
  • Internet Privacy: Safeguarding Personal Data in the Digital Age
  • Raising Awareness on Human Trafficking: Combating Modern-Day Slavery

Controversial Informative Speech Topics About Technology And Science

Controversial Informative Speech Topics About Technology And Science

  • Genetic Engineering: Balancing Benefits and Ethical Considerations
  • Artificial Intelligence: Potential Impacts on Employment and Human Society
  • Cryptocurrency: A Disruptive Force in the Global Financial System
  • Surveillance Technologies: Striking a Balance between Security and Privacy
  • Human Cloning: Scientific Advancements and Ethical Dilemmas
  • Gene Editing: Implications for Human Health and Evolution
  • 5G Technology: Unveiling the Promises and Controversies
  • Autonomous Vehicles: The Future of Transportation and Moral Questions
  • Virtual Reality: Transforming Experiences, But at What Cost?
  • Geoengineering: Manipulating the Earth’s Climate to Combat Global Warming

Controversial Informative Speech Topics About the Environment

  • Deforestation: Balancing Economic Growth and Environmental Conservation
  • Fracking: Unveiling the Impacts on Water Resources and Earthquakes
  • Animal Testing: Ethical Considerations in Scientific Research
  • Plastic Pollution: Exploring the Devastating Effects on Marine Life
  • Climate Change Denial: Examining Skepticism and Scientific Consensus
  • Overfishing: Threats to Marine Biodiversity and Sustainable Fisheries
  • GMOs: Assessing the Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Nuclear Energy: Evaluating Safety, Waste Disposal, and Renewable Alternatives
  • Water Scarcity: Exploring Causes, Consequences, and Potential Solutions
  • Pesticide Use: Balancing Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Impact

Controversial Informative Speech Ideas On Education

Controversial Informative Speech Ideas On Education

  • Standardized Testing: Assessing its Effectiveness and Implications for Education
  • Homeschooling: Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Alternative Education
  • School Vouchers: Examining the Pros and Cons of School Choice Programs
  • Sex Education in Schools: Navigating Controversies and Promoting Comprehensive Curriculum
  • Inclusive Education: Addressing Challenges and Ensuring Equal Opportunities for All Students
  • School Funding: Bridging the Gap between Equity and Adequacy
  • Online Learning: Transforming Education or Diminishing the Classroom Experience?
  • Zero Tolerance Policies: Evaluating their Impact on School Discipline and Students’ Rights
  • Teaching Controversial Topics: Striking the Balance between Academic Freedom and Sensitivity
  • Technology in the Classroom: Maximizing Benefits while Minimizing Distractions and Inequalities

Controversial ​Informative Speech Topics For College​

  • Affirmative Action: Examining its Impact on College Admissions and Equal Opportunity
  • Campus Free Speech: Balancing Academic Freedom and Hate Speech Regulation
  • College Athletics: Exploring the Debate on Paying Student-Athletes
  • Alcohol and Drug Policies on College Campuses: Striking a Balance between Safety and Personal Choice
  • Mental Health Services in Colleges: Assessing Adequacy and Accessibility
  • College Tuition: Exploring the Rising Costs and Alternatives for Affordability
  • Campus Sexual Assault: Addressing Prevention, Support, and Justice
  • Online Education: Challenging the Traditional College Experience
  • Cultural Appropriation on Campus: Navigating Respect, Appreciation, and Identity
  • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Evaluating their Effectiveness and Controversies

Controversial Informative Speech Topics For University​

  • Animal Testing: Ethical Considerations and Alternatives in Scientific Research
  • Genetic Modification of Embryos: Exploring the Ethics and Future Implications
  • Artificial Intelligence and Job Displacement: Examining the Impact on the Workforce
  • Climate Change and Geoengineering: Evaluating Controversial Strategies to Combat Global Warming
  • Nuclear Power: Weighing the Benefits and Risks as an Alternative Energy Source
  • Legalization of Drugs: Analyzing the Impact on Health, Society, and Criminal Justice
  • Privacy in the Digital Age: Balancing Security and Personal Freedoms
  • Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Examining the Ethical and Legal Perspectives
  • Cultural Appropriation: Navigating Boundaries, Appreciation, and Appropriation in Society
  • Universal Basic Income: Assessing its Viability and Implications for Social Welfare

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Sports And Health

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Sports And Health

  • Concussions in Sports: Exploring the Long-Term Effects and Safety Measures
  • Doping in Sports: Addressing the Ethics and Consequences of Performance-Enhancing Drugs
  • Transgender Athletes: Examining Inclusion, Fairness, and Identity in Competitive Sports
  • Youth Sports Specialization: Assessing the Benefits and Risks of Early Sports Specialization
  • Mental Health in Athletics: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Well-Being
  • Body Image and Sports: Analyzing the Impact of Unrealistic Standards on Athletes
  • Sports Betting: Balancing the Thrill, Addiction, and Integrity of Sporting Competitions
  • Gender Pay Gap in Sports: Investigating Disparities and Advocating for Equity
  • The Role of Technology in Sports: Examining the Advancements and Ethical Dilemmas
  • Sports and Violence: Addressing Aggression, Fan Behavior, and Player Safety

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Psychology And Communication

  • Psychiatric Medication: Evaluating the Benefits, Side Effects, and Overprescription
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Examining the Influence of Genetics and Environment on Human Behavior
  • Implicit Bias: Uncovering Unconscious Prejudices and Their Impact on Communication
  • Online Communication: Exploring the Effects of Social Media on Mental Health and Interpersonal Relationships
  • Psychotherapy Approaches: Comparing the Effectiveness of Different Therapeutic Modalities
  • Media Influence on Body Image: Analyzing the Role of Advertising and Unrealistic Standards
  • Cognitive Enhancers: Assessing the Ethics and Implications of “Smart Drugs”
  • Nonverbal Communication: Decoding Gestures, Body Language, and Microexpressions
  • False Memories: Investigating the Reliability and Implications of Memory Reconstruction
  • Bystander Effect: Understanding the Factors Influencing Intervention in Emergency Situations

Public Speaking Controversial Informative Speech Topics

Public Speaking Controversial Informative Speech Topics

  • Censorship in Public Speaking: Navigating the Boundaries of Free Speech and Responsibility
  • The Influence of Persuasive Speaking: Analyzing the Power of Manipulation and Propaganda
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Public Speaking: Balancing Honesty, Respect, and the Desire to Persuade
  • Political Correctness in Public Discourse: Examining its Impact on Freedom of Expression
  • Cultural Sensitivity in Public Speaking: Addressing Appropriation, Stereotyping, and Respect
  • Public Speaking and Social Media: Exploring the Opportunities and Pitfalls of Online Platforms
  • Hate Speech Laws: Evaluating the Balance between Protecting Individuals and Ensuring Free Expression
  • Public Speaking and Emotional Manipulation: Understanding Techniques and Ethical Considerations
  • Public Speaking and Fake News: Combating Misinformation and Promoting Critical Thinking
  • Debating Controversial Topics: Fostering Civil Discourse and Open-mindedness in Public Speaking.

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Society

  • Capital Punishment: Examining the Ethics and Effectiveness of the Death Penalty
  • Gun Control: Balancing Second Amendment Rights and Public Safety
  • Immigration Policies: Addressing Challenges, Borders, and Humanitarian Concerns
  • Assisted Reproduction: Exploring the Ethical and Legal Issues of Surrogacy and IVF
  • Social Media and Mental Health: Investigating the Impact of Online Platforms on Well-being
  • Income Inequality: Analyzing the Causes, Consequences, and Potential Solutions
  • Drug Legalization: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Decriminalization and Regulation
  • Cultural Assimilation: Navigating Identity, Integration, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage
  • LGBTQ+ Rights: Advocating for Equality, Recognition, and Inclusive Policies
  • Social Activism: Examining its Influence, Methods, and Controversies in Society

Controversial Informative Speech Themes On Economy And Finance

Controversial Informative Speech Themes On Economy And Finance

  • Income Tax: Evaluating Progressive Taxation and Wealth Redistribution
  • Globalization: Assessing the Benefits and Disadvantages for Developing Economies
  • Wealth Inequality: Analyzing the Causes, Impacts, and Policy Solutions
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Examining the Role of Businesses in Society
  • Minimum Wage: Balancing Livable Wages and Economic Impact
  • Cryptocurrency: Exploring the Future of Digital Currencies and Regulatory Challenges
  • Austerity Measures: Debating the Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy in Economic Recovery
  • Offshore Tax Havens: Investigating the Ethical and Economic Implications
  • Universal Basic Income: Assessing its Viability as a Solution to Income Inequality
  • Trade Wars: Understanding the Consequences of Protectionist Policies on Global Economy

Good Controversial Informative Speech Ideas On Family

  • Same-Sex Parenting: Exploring the Impact on Children and Society
  • Adoption vs. Biological Parenting: Analyzing the Benefits and Challenges of Each
  • Surrogacy: Examining the Ethical and Legal Considerations of Assisted Reproduction
  • Single Parenting: Navigating the Challenges and Support Systems for Solo Parents
  • Child Vaccination: Addressing Parental Rights, Public Health, and Controversies
  • Parental Discipline: Understanding the Boundaries between Discipline and Abuse
  • Parental Leave Policies: Promoting Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality
  • Blended Families: Challenges and Strategies for Building Successful Step-Families
  • Home Schooling vs. Traditional Schooling: Comparing Approaches and Outcomes
  • Sibling Rivalry: Exploring the Impact on Family Dynamics and Long-Term Relationships

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Politics And Culture

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Politics And Culture

  • Political Correctness: Analyzing its Impact on Free Speech and Public Discourse
  • Nationalism vs. Globalism: Examining the Tensions between National Identity and International Cooperation
  • Cancel Culture: Exploring the Effects of Public Shaming and Consequences for Freedom of Expression
  • Identity Politics: Assessing the Impact of Social Identity on Political Movements and Policy-making
  • Political Polarization: Understanding the Divisions and Strategies for Bridging the Gap
  • Electoral College: Evaluating its Role in Democracy and Calls for Reform
  • Mass Surveillance: Weighing Security Concerns and Individual Privacy Rights

Controversial Informative Speech Themes On Justice And Law

  • Death Penalty: Examining the Ethics and Effectiveness of Capital Punishment
  • Police Brutality: Addressing Accountability, Racial Bias, and Calls for Reform
  • Legalization of Marijuana: Evaluating the Social, Economic, and Criminal Justice Implications
  • Sentencing Disparities: Analyzing Racial and Socioeconomic Bias in the Criminal Justice System
  • Restorative Justice: Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Incarceration and Rehabilitation
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Assessing the Impact on Fairness and Judicial Discretion
  • Cybercrime: Investigating the Challenges of Prosecuting and Preventing Online Offenses
  • Mass Incarceration: Understanding its Causes, Consequences, and Potential Solutions
  • Hate Crime Legislation: Debating the Effectiveness and Controversies Surrounding Hate Crime Laws
  • Surveillance and Privacy: Balancing Security and Civil Liberties in the Digital Age

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Business

Controversial Informative Speech Topics On Business

  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Evaluating the Impact of Businesses on Society and the Environment
  • Sweatshops and Labor Exploitation: Analyzing the Ethical Implications of Global Supply Chains
  • CEO Salaries: Examining Income Inequality and Executive Compensation
  • Patent Trolling: Exploring the Controversies Surrounding Patent Abuse and Innovation
  • Monopolies and Anti-Trust Laws: Assessing the Power and Influence of Large Corporations
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Advertising: Navigating Deception, Manipulation, and Consumer Trust
  • Outsourcing: Understanding the Economic, Social, and Political Consequences of Global Business Practices
  • E-commerce and Traditional Retail: Analyzing the Disruption and Transformation of Industries
  • Cryptocurrency Regulation: Balancing Innovation, Investor Protection, and Financial Stability
  • Corporate Lobbying: Investigating the Influence of Money and Special Interests in Politics and Policy-making

Literature And History Informative Speech Topics

  • The Impact of Shakespearean Plays on English Literature and Language
  • The Harlem Renaissance: Examining the Cultural and Artistic Movement of African Americans in the 1920s
  • The Crusades: Analyzing the Religious, Political, and Economic Motivations behind the Holy Wars
  • The Influence of Greek Mythology on Western Literature and Art
  • The Salem Witch Trials: Understanding the Causes, Hysteria, and Aftermath of the Witchcraft Trials
  • The Industrial Revolution: Exploring its Effects on Society, Economy, and Literature
  • The Renaissance Period: Investigating the Rebirth of Art, Science, and Humanism in Europe
  • The Impact of the Beat Generation: Analyzing the Counter-Cultural Movement of the 1950s and 1960s
  • The Victorian Era: Examining the Social, Cultural, and Literary Developments of the 19th Century
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Tracing its Origins, Key Figures, and Impact on American History

Get Help With Your Controversial Informative Speech Essay

Are you struggling to find the right approach or topic for your controversial informative speech essay? Look no further! We understand the challenges of presenting a compelling, argumentative, and thought-provoking speech, so we offer expert writing assistance tailored to your needs. Our skilled writers can help you select a suitable topic, conduct thorough research, and craft a well-structured and engaging speech. Whether you need assistance with brainstorming ideas, organizing your content, or refining your arguments, our experts are here to support you. Don’t hesitate – to click the ORDER NOW button above to get started and ensure your controversial informative speech captivates your audience and leaves a lasting impression.

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With a passion for education and student empowerment, I create blog content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of students. From study hacks and productivity tips to career exploration and personal development

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242 controversial speech topics

How to choose a good argumentative speech topic.

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 10-23-2022

'Girls wear trousers whenever and where ever they choose. Therefore boys should be accorded the same freedom to wear dresses if they want to.'

That's an example of a current controversial speech topic. It does exactly what you want a good controversial topic to do: trigger emotional responses both for, and against it. Schools who require their students to wear gendered uniforms (dresses for girls and trousers for boys) are being actively challenged!

Controversial or argumentative topics teach us to evaluate ideas, to think through pros and cons, and to debate. Because they are often so polarizing, they make some of the very best persuasive speech topics! 

What's on this page:

  • 242 controversial speech topics - 42 food topics , 31 babies and children topics , 37 topics on teenagers , 133 topics on differing aspects of society
  • What are controversial speech topics? Understanding what makes a topic controversial - the mix of passion, belief, fact and fiction.
  • How to choose the best argumentative topic
  • Resources for more topics and developing your speech

Image: definition of controversial

What are controversial speech topics?

The key word is  controversial.  It has a similar meaning to  argumentative. Controversial  comes from the word  controversy  meaning:

  • a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.
  • contention, strife, or argument.

Synonyms are:

  • disagreement, altercation.
  • quarrel, wrangle.

Click for a full  dictionary definition.

Therefore controversial speech topics or argumentative speech topics are those evoking passionate opinions: ones capable of splitting families, friends, communities and countries.

These are the hot topics, the sensitive topics, the ones we're currently working our way through.

Both sides of the debate are often convinced their point of view is right and their opposition's is wrong.

The benefit of delving into subject matter like this is being pushed to consider our own attitudes, values and emotional responses, which in turn helps makes us think more clearly. 

Historical controversial speech topics

History gives us examples of topics that once caused major strife. Now with the benefit of hindsight, we may wonder what all the fuss was about. Opinions have changed. What was once dangerous to discuss or even think about has become commonplace: unremarkable and acceptable.

Believing the earth moves around the sun, doesn't even raise an eyebrow now. But in 1633, in Italy, it was a highly controversial subject. The Roman Inquisition sentenced the famous astronomer Galileo to permanent house arrest over it.

Centuries later the abolition of slavery, giving women the vote, and desegregation in schools provoked similarly strong responses.

Modern controversial topics

Like their historical forerunners, these are argumentative or persuasive speech topics reflecting the current political and social issues impacting on, and shaping people's lives.

They can be broad, affecting everybody in the world, for example the global warming controversy (Does it really exist?), or narrow, concerning far fewer people. A good example of the latter are local conservation issues.

For instance in the area where I live there is a current, very lively, debate over land usage adjacent to an estuary.

Should a developer be given permission to close down the much used public walkway on the estuary edge in order to make it easier for his commercial development to go ahead? 

Images: 1. bush along edge of estuary 2. Heavy machinery clearing bush. Text: Should a developer be given permission to close down a public walk way on an estuary?

Regardless of their reach: global, national or local, controversial subjects draw impassioned debate. 

Who is right?  Who is wrong?  And is there a middle ground or compromise acceptable to both sides?

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How to choose a perfect persuasive speech topic

If you want your speech to be the best it can be, what comes next can make or break it.

Your first step is to consider ALL of the following aspects carefully before settling on a topic.

Who is your target audience?

A good speaker always considers their audience and shapes their speech around them. Think about the people you intend to speak to:

  • Are they young? Are they older? Are they predominately male, female, or a mix?
  • What common themes, attitudes, values and beliefs unite them?
  • What cultural or social backgrounds do they have?
  • What would be a good topic, one that is appropriate for both them and the occasion? The right topic will genuinely interest them, and will benefit them to know about.
  • What do they expect from you as a speaker?

What is the purpose of your speech?

  • Do you want to shock?
  • Do you want to inform?
  • Do you want to persuade?
  • Is it a mixture of all, or some, of the above?
  • What do you want the audience to do as a result of having listened to your speech?

Research & presentation

An effective controversial or argumentative speech is well researched. This provides it with a rational, rather than purely emotive, base.

For example: "I don't like XXX.",  has no logical appeal at all! It is not an argument.

However, " I don't like XXX for the following three reasons..."  , is the beginning of one.

If you want to challenge or change opinion you will research:

  • the background history of your topic
  • both sides of the argument - the for and against

You will present:

  • factual, and if possible, demonstrable evidence or proof
  • unbiased statistics
  • and do so in a way that the audience can follow while fulfilling your speech purpose.

And very lastly

Choose a subject that truly interests you. That way your enthusiasm will carry you through the research, writing process, and rehearsal, to delivery.

 242 controversial speech topics

There are 242 persuasive speech topic ideas below for you to consider, split across four broad groups: food, babies and children, teenagers, and society.

What is more fundamental than the foods we eat?

Like air the breathe, the food we eat is essential to our survival and its history is a fascinating window into country, culture, and class. 

Food is controversial. It always has been and always will be. It is that way because it is vital, and anything vital arouses deeply felt passions.

Have fun with these!

public speaking controversial topics

Babies, children and teenagers

There are few topic areas more emotive than those to do with children. They are our future, our personal and family continuity, and often our reason for living.

How we shelter them, bring them up, educate and nourish them, literally and metaphorically, will always spark intense debates. 

Topics about babies and children

Image: two yellow eggs: 1 marked with a female symbol, the other with a male symbol. Text: Gender preference and the use of reproductive technology poses an ethical debate.

  • The use of reproductive technology should be accessible to every one.
  • Gender preference and the use of reproductive technology poses an ethical debate.
  • Gender should never be a reason to abort a fetus.
  • Genetic engineering is a moral and ethical minefield.
  • Cloning babies should be banned.
  • Children learn while they are in their mother's uterus.
  • Every mother and her new-born child should receive the very best care available regardless of expense - paid for by state subsidy if needed.
  • Children and babies should never be taken from their birth mothers on account of race.
  • Being born outside of marriage is not a crime.
  • All children should have the right to know who their parents are.
  • Every child, regardless of the circumstances of their conception and birth, has the right to live, and to be loved.
  • Every child has the right to a childhood.
  • No child should be expected or forced to go to work.
  • Every child has a right to an education.
  • No child should be denied health care on the basis of cost.
  • Every child deserves the best and most nutritious food possible.
  • All children should have the opportunity to develop their abilities.
  • No child should be the subject of any form of exploitation.
  • Indoctrination (political or religious) of children is morally wrong.
  • Children's education and extra-curricular activities should be free of gender bias.
  • Children should be encouraged to be the best of themselves they can be, rather than the best boy or girl they can be.
  • Marketing for children should be gender-free.
  • Pink-washing everything (clothing, toys, sports gear ...) for girls is nothing but cynical marketing.
  • 'Boys will be boys' as an explanation for tolerating poor behavior from male children is damaging.
  • Advertising targeting children needs to be in the child's best interest.
  • The rise of children's use of technology has impacts on their ability to learn  effective, meaningful face-face communication skills.
  • Children without their own screen (computer, tablet etc) are compromised educationally.
  • Every child should have unscheduled, uninterrupted time to play.
  • The culture of excessive public health and safety concern is inhibiting children's natural curiosity to experiment and learn about their own physical capabilities.
  • Parental and societal pressure to achieve academically is not always in the child's best interest.
  • A woman should have the right to make decisions about her own body and to have them respected. That includes: using, or not using,  the best of whatever method of birth control is available to her,  pre-birth screening for disabilities, and abortion on demand. 

Topics for, and about, teenagers

Image: retro cartoon drawing of a girl weeping. Text: An unplanned teenage pregnancy ruins more lives than one.

  • Making errors of judgment as a teenager is part of learning to become a responsible adult.
  • Cell phones are an absolute necessity for teenagers.
  • Cell phone usage restrictions are understandable.
  • As a teen friends have more influence than family.
  • Negotiating parental expectations is part of being a teenager.
  • A teenager should not be allowed to get tattooed.
  • Gender identity is becoming less important.
  • All teenagers should do regular public service work.
  • Teenagers should work to contribute toward their own living costs.
  • Alcohol and drug education for teenagers is seldom effective.
  • Bullying of any sort is unjustifiable.
  • Taking and posting selfies  on social media is a form of narcissism.
  • Real friends are not the people who like your posts on social media.
  • Keeping safe on the internet is important.
  • Every teenager deserves at least three or four chances.
  • Single sex schools are best.
  • Educational opportunities should be available to all.
  • A juvenile should never be treated like an adult in the justice system.
  • Teenagers have a right to privacy.
  • Most juvenile crime is the result of living in difficult family situations and communities.
  • Teenage boys would not act out so much if they had positive male role models.
  • An unplanned teenage pregnancy ruins more lives than one.
  • The advertising industry exploits teenage insecurities.
  • Ranking students on their academic scores is not an accurate measure of their potential.
  • Being a teenage boy/girl is becoming increasingly challenging.
  • Girls wear trousers. Therefore boys can wear dresses if they choose to. 
  • Stereotyping anybody is limiting the possibility you may have to see them as a real person.
  • The music industry needs to take more responsibility for the way they influence moods and behavior.
  • Censorship is sometimes necessary to protect us from things and people who could cause us harm.
  • Violence should never be glorified or admired.
  • Learning to cope with embarrassment without plunging into despair is an important life lesson.
  • Leaning to accept and positively work with our own shortcomings is a sign of maturity.
  • Envying others for their looks, money, intelligence and abilities or anything else is a waste of time.
  • Parents should never lie.
  • Respecting adults can be very difficult.
  • What a person looks like, how they dress, determines how people respond to them.
  • Having a positive role model is essential.

Controversial topics covering aspects of our society 

Medicine, drugs, education, conservation, voting, climate change, fossil fuels, water shortages, colonization, taxes, art, religion, housing...

There are so many topic possibilities to be controversially passionate about!  Any one of them could make a good speech.

Image: cartoon of man sitting on street in a heart shaped beam of yellow light. Text: The homeless on our streets need our help.

  • Aside from what is required by nature for reproduction of the human species, there are no true gender specific roles.
  • Equal pay for equal work should be enshrined in law.
  • Everybody who works for a living deserves a livable wage.
  • Social services should be fully funded and supported by government.
  • Nobody deserves to have a better standard of healthcare than anybody else.
  • The homeless on our streets need our help.
  • Victims of family violence should never be shamed.
  • Perpetrators of family violence need help rather than blame.
  • Poverty causes people to commit crimes, not character.
  • All recreational drugs should be legalized.
  • Addictive illegal drugs are not the root cause of the problems that people who use them have. They are only an indication of something else needing closer attention.
  • Alcohol should be taxed more heavily to help reduce alcohol related problems.
  • Pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the dependency difficulties people get into with some prescribed drugs.
  • Animal testing of pharmaceutical drugs is unethical.
  • Cars should be banned from city centers.
  • Owners of vehicles that run on petrol or diesel should pay an emission tax.
  • Increased use of public transport should be supported and encouraged by the state.
  • Individual ownership of vehicles for transport in cities should be discouraged.
  • A license to drive a vehicle should be much harder to get.
  • Driverless cars are the way of the future.
  • Everyone in cities benefits from more green spaces.
  • Easily accessible green spaces should be part of any housing development.
  • Accessibility to green spaces improves people's mental health.
  • All urban development should be 'green': fully sustainable.
  • Affordable, secure, healthy housing should be available to all.
  • The countries, the cities, and the houses we live in shape our lives. 
  • Acceptance of equality and diversity is the only way forward for society.
  • Diversity is more than mere tokenism.
  • All people are equal but some are more equal than others is a truth we need to accept.
  • Opportunities are open for everybody. People just need to take them.
  • Poverty is a state of mind that is outwardly expressed through low educational achievements and poor job choices.
  • Being poor is not a crime, a character flaw, or a judgment from God.
  • Monetary wealth always polarizes people.
  • Wealth should never be used as a measure of a person's worth.
  • Becoming more and more wealthy through exploitative means should not be allowed. 
  • Paying taxes is necessary for society to function.
  • Tax avoidance is unethical.
  • Taxes should be used to benefit those who need it most.
  • Tax breaks should only be given to companies or people who genuinely need them.
  • Those who are more wealthy should pay more tax.
  • How land is used should be decided in conjunction with those who will be impacted, not just the land owner.
  • Land is a finite resource and should be treated accordingly.
  • Land use practices that are known, and proven, to cause long term harm to the environment should be banned.
  • We all live in the world, therefore we all should have a say about how its resources are used.
  • Deep-sea mining should be banned.
  • Fracking does more harm than good.
  • Global warming and deforestation go hand in hand. 
  • Intensive and extensive mono-cropping is ultimately unsustainable.
  • Eco-terrorism is justifiable.
  • 'Green' industrial, agriculture and fishing practices are the only way to slow the damage we are doing to our planet.
  • Eco-fascism is a misguided attempt to preserve a white, privileged existence. (See this UK Guardian article for more:  Eco-fascists and the ugly fight for 'our way of life' as the environment disintegrates )
  • All animals deserve to be treated with respect.
  • Colonizing space is a possible answer to our growing environmental challenges.

public speaking controversial topics

  • Artists are as essential to society's health and well-being as any other service we depend on: for instance law and order, medical ...
  • Public art humanizes our cities. It shows us who we are.
  • Works of art that were stolen from their owners in times of war should be returned.
  • Artifacts that have been removed from their places and  countries of origin should be returned.
  • The role of street art is to provoke.
  • Admissions to city museums and art galleries should be free.
  • Cultural appropriation in art, music, or any other sphere, is theft.
  • Good art is always controversial.
  • The elderly have the right to expect to be fully cared for.
  • Ageism is a mark of an intolerant, arrogant society.
  • We need to make it easier for families to support their elderly members in their own homes.
  • Everyone who needs it should have access to good child care for their children.
  • Segregation through race, gender, intellectual capacity, physical abilities, health, religion, wealth ... supports and underlines a tiered society.
  • Political correctness has gone mad.
  • Some day we will look back and wonder why it took so long, and why we had to go through so much strife to establish that same sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples.
  • Any form of extremism is dangerous.
  • Racial profiling should be illegal.
  • Using quota systems to manage people is demeaning.
  • School violence would be much less if guns were not so freely available.
  • School violence is a symptom of a very sick society.
  • Hate crimes are often committed for revenge.
  • 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' is never justifiable.
  • There should be far greater gun control.
  • Controlling who owns guns will not stop crime.
  • The gentrification of our cities is to blame for the increased cost of housing and growing homelessness.
  • State censorship is justified.
  • Sensible censorship is about protecting vulnerable people from material which could cause them harm.
  • Censorship on the internet is impossible.
  • Beauty in a person is a state of mind or being, not necessarily something physical.
  • Our concepts of beauty are determined by popular culture.
  • An aging body can be beautiful.
  • Fashion is to blame for the rise of eating disorders among young people.
  • Being a slave to fashion is foolish.
  • Fashion is creative, artistic and fun.
  • Fashion celebrates the joy of looking and feeling good.
  • A woman dresses well to make other women envious.
  • Fashion that inhibits movement is ridiculous.
  • Wearing a piece of conspicuously brand-labelled clothing is a signal that the wearer wants to be identified as sharing the brand's values and image.
  • Clothing choices speak louder than words.
  • Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is barbaric and should be banned.
  • Voting rights should be automatically granted to anyone of voting age who is of sound mind and a citizen.
  • Voting should be compulsory for everyone who is entitled to vote.
  • People should be allowed to follow whatever religious belief they choose.
  • Karl Marx said, religion is the opiate of the masses. How is that true?
  • Being a good person and being a religious person can be two very different things.
  • Can a religion and a cult be one and the same?
  • Religious practices that physically or psychologically harm a person should be banned.
  • Once they are old enough, children from religious families should have the freedom to make their own decision about whether or not they want to follow in their family's footsteps.

public speaking controversial topics

  • Stalking, either physically or online, is harassment and those who do it should be prosecuted.
  • Where and when does the right to privacy stop?
  • How can we protect our privacy, and use social media? 
  • Unauthorized collection and use of personal data is illegal. Offenders, regardless of who they are,  should be prosecuted and those who profit from the use of illegally collected data should forfeit their gains. (As an example see this Wikipedia overview of the  2018  Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal  where millions of Facebook users had their personal data used for political advertising.)
  • Government control of the media is sometimes necessary.
  • Society is controlled by whoever controls our media.
  • There is no such thing as unbiased news coverage.
  • If media companies have a particular  political and/or commercial interest it   should be transparent.
  • Anybody or organization who either generates or passes on fake news should be prosecuted.
  • Fake news and conspiracy theories feed on fear.
  • Some conspiracy theories are true.
  • Some news seems so shocking it can't be true.
  • We are wrong to be fearful about artificial intelligence. 
  • Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich under Adolf Hitler,  famously said: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” Is this true?
  • We are less able to judge if what we read online is fake news or not because the way we get our news has changed in the digital age. Through the use of algorithms information is filtered and we are shown articles reflecting the existing opinions of our own and our friends. How true is this?
  • Only foolish people fall for online scams and get-rich quick schemes.
  • Provocative headlines can be an effective way to provoke interest.
  • When do advertising campaigns step over the line and become offensive?
  • Advertising companies feed on people's weaknesses.
  • Nationalism creates 'them and us' scenarios.
  • We need to think and cooperate on a global scale.
  • Separatism is seldom successful.
  • Confusing tolerating hate speech with freedom of speech or the right to speak is wrong.
  • Freedom of speech comes with responsibility.
  • Empathy as well as action are needed to change the injustices of the world.
  • Religion has no place in the government of a country.
  • A country gets the government and leadership it deserves.
  • Sometimes personal ethics and morals need to be put aside for the good of the community.
  • Putting people in jail is neither humane nor sustainable.
  • Electronic surveillance is violation of human rights.
  • Torture is never justified.
  • War is a barbaric answer to a problem between countries.

If you need more topic ideas ...

Try  Questia -  You'll find  an enormous list of controversial topics in alphabetical order , starting with Abortion and ending with Year-round school . Each topic area has an overview and an associated book or article list. It's an extremely thorough compilation and an excellent resource. 

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Should you need it there is  comprehensive on-site help  for every aspect of preparing, rehearsing and help to tame any anxiety you may be feeling about making a presentation . (There's enough here to make you very happy with the end result! ☺)

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The Admissions Strategist

191 best persuasive speech topics: give an amazing speech.

Does the thought of public speaking make you cringe?

While almost everyone experiences some stage fright speaking in front of an audience, there are ways to tame this debilitating fear.

Half the battle of giving a speech is selecting a topic that engages your audience.

For any speech, whether informative or persuasive, your speech idea should meet these criteria:

  • Well-researched with solid examples and evidence
  • Broad enough to be universal, narrow enough to be original
  • Meaningful and customized to your audience

Additionally, you should possess a measure of expertise on your topic.

Understanding the nuances of what you are speaking about is a sure way to ease those jitters. This is how you come up with the best speech idea.

When choosing a persuasive speech topic, all of the above criteria apply, along with a few additional requirements.

191 Best Persuasive Speech Topics

Click above to watch a video on Speech Topics.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Speech Topic?

While an informative speech merely presents factual information, a good informative speech topic goes a step further.

  • The goal of a persuasive speech is to convince the audience that your perspective is valid.

This does not mean that the audience will agree with every opinion you present, but a good persuasive speech makes the audience think* .

A great persuasive speech makes an audience act.

As transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”

Therefore, a strong persuasive speaker will:

  • Present a clear and sincere perspective. The audience should not be questioning your stance on an issue.
  • Exhibit passion that inspires others to think or act.
  • Be confident in both your perspective and topic.

Not all persuasive speeches need to be deeply controversial, but there should be some gray area in your chosen topic.

Political , social and ethical issues make compelling persuasive speech topics for this reason.

The persuasive speech should address a burning question that incites intellectual debate:

  • Should strict gun control laws be implemented?
  • Is it possible to be an animal lover and a carnivore?
  • Is the government at fault for the increasing homeless population?

Such questions may seem divisive, but, in a civilized society, they are essential to ask.

Posing such questions directly to your audience during your speech engages a group in the Socratic Method of critical thinking.

Furthermore, if a topic isn’t inherently controversial, then it might not make the most powerful speech.

Your job as a persuasive speaker is to argue your point, which is not necessary to do on topics that most people agree on.

In that vein, here are a handful of topics that would not make for good persuasive speeches.

  • Learning a foreign language is important.
  • Fighting in overseas wars can be dangerous.
  • Social Security income is not sufficient for many retired Americans.
  • Technical skills are crucial in the 21st-century job market.
  • Cardiovascular fitness improves longevity.

…And you get the picture. So, what does make a good persuasive speech topic? Well, there are at least 191 answers to that question.

Get personalized advice!

191 best persuasive speech topics.

Before we reveal the 191 best persuasive speech topics, let’s preview each of the categories:

  • Politics and law : This topic revolves around pressing issues including voting, Supreme Court decisions, political leadership, and criminal justice.
  • Environmental activism : Climate change, offshore oil drilling, and green technology are just a few of the hot-button issues you’ll discover in this category.
  • Social justice : Covering all issues of equality, social justice topics invite debate – and demand solid supporting facts or powerhouse emotional appeals .
  • Ethics : Comprising our basic morals and values that drive our behaviors, the ethics category examines how to deal with issues like animal abuse, abortion, and stem cell research.
  • Health : Regarding important issues like our food supply, how should we best protect and promote human health in the 21 st century?
  • Potpourri : And now we come to the miscellaneous category of “everything else.” You’ll find engaging or even entertaining ideas related to music, movies, curriculum, and more.

Take a deep breath and read on!

Politics and Law

  • Alternative political parties (i.e., Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc.)
  • Declaring “Independent” or “No Party Affiliation” on voter registration.
  • Should voters with no party affiliation be allowed to vote in primary elections?
  • Are newly proposed voter registration laws discriminatory?
  • How many terms should politicians be allowed to serve?
  • Popular vote vs. Electoral College
  • Are women underrepresented in Congress?
  • Swing states (i.e., Florida and Ohio)
  • Do current proposed abortion laws violate Roe v. Wade?
  • Political correctness versus freedom of speech
  • Terrorist watch lists – safety precaution or blatant prejudice?
  • Corporate lobbyists and campaign contributions
  • Are laws too lenient on violent criminals?
  • Tax responsibility: income tax, property tax, sales tax.
  • Should the voting age be increased or decreased?
  • Capital punishment: right or wrong?
  • DNA evidence in criminal cases: is it enough?
  • Should criminal minors be prosecuted and sentenced as adults?
  • How to deal with the issue of illegal immigration
  • Should cigarettes be taken off the market and made illegal?
  • Legalization of Marijuana
  • Should health insurance be mandatory by law?
  • Is the death penalty obsolete?
  • Private vs. Public Prisons
  • Should politicians be allowed to use private donations to campaign?
  • Is it right for the government to fund partisan organizations?
  • Appointment of Supreme Court Justice
  • How can the mass shooting crisis be solved?
  • Minimum wage: should it exist or be forgotten?
  • Should citizens be required to serve in the military for a period of time?
  • Gun rights on school campuses: is it safe?
  • Military members and income tax

Environmental Activism

  • Hybrid and electric cars on the road
  • Oil spills and world wildlife
  • Saving rainforests and their indigenous species
  • Palm oil: should it be outlawed?
  • Make all bills and business correspondence paperless.
  • Dangers of drilling for oil
  • Replacing plastic with glass and cardboard
  • Trophy hunting: should the penalties be harsher?
  • Banning disposable diapers in favor of cloth diapers
  • Benefits of public transportation, biking, walking, or carpooling
  • Conserving water in our everyday lives
  • Wildfires on the rise in California
  • Greenhouse gas emissions in Asia
  • Global climate change and increased severity of storms
  • Growing food as a homesteader
  • Impact of big box stores on the environment
  • Impact of online retailers’ packaging and shipping on the environment
  • Turning the practice of recycling into a law punishable by hefty fines
  • Overfishing and dwindling populations of marine wildlife
  • Factory farms and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Controlling E. Coli and other food borne illnesses
  • Are is worth it to ban plastic straws?
  • Drones and the environment
  • Should hunting be outlawed in national parks to protect its wildlife?
  • Hair care and air quality
  • Better education for at home waste management
  • Should it be illegal to flush certain things into the sewage system?
  • Is it right to cut down a tree for the holidays?
  • How do marijuana farms affect the surrounding area’s environment?
  • Water contamination: What preventative measures can be taken?
  • How to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Should new homes support solar energy only?
  • Organic farming practices

Social Justice

  • Do you agree with the research on equal pay between men and women?
  • Should government employees go without pay during a shutdown?
  • Police brutality and shootings (in general or a specific case in the news such as Philando Castile in Minnesota)
  • Should all policemen wear body cameras?
  • Is racial discrimination on the rise? Why or why not?
  • Scholarship opportunities for minority students
  • The benefits (or challenges) of a multicultural society
  • Should bullies be expelled from school?
  • What can be done about anonymous online bullying?
  • Unrealistic beauty/body standards and self-image
  • How to create a strong community
  • Welfare, SNAP, and other social assistance programs
  • The 40-hour work week is too long.
  • Comparing the work week in Europe to the work week in the United States
  • Caring for an aging population: are Social Security and Medicare enough?
  • Civil lawsuits should not receive so much attention in the media.
  • Racial and ethnic profiling (including FBI criminal profiling)
  • Being a foster or adoptive parent
  • Buying local builds up the community.
  • Refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Battling stereotypes and making them obsolete
  • Mandatory community service for all U.S. citizens
  • Is common law marriage outdated?
  • Should companies be allowed to deny service to anyone?
  • Changing gender on a driver’s license
  • Affirmative Action today
  • DACA DREAMers Movement
  • Legalization of gay marriage
  • Should individuals be allowed to adopt?
  • Re-sentencing for crimes involving marijuana in states where it is now legal
  • Unlimited Paid Time Off vs Accrued time off
  • License revoking for older drivers: is it against their rights?
  • Wearing fur or using fur for any profit
  • Mistreatment of farm animals: what is the solution?
  • How do we address the increasing problem of homelessness?
  • Tithing – how much should each person give?
  • Euthanasia for terminally ill individuals
  • Was it right for Dr. Kevorkian (assisted suicide physician) to be imprisoned?
  • Pet shops and breeders versus shelters
  • Returning or rehoming pets: is it right?
  • Preselecting the gender and other aspects of an unborn baby
  • Abortion: pro-choice or pro-life?
  • Product testing on animals in labs
  • Stem cell research
  • Protecting children from inappropriate websites
  • When should a child be allowed to have a smartphone?
  • Should children be allowed into an R-rated movie even with a guardian?
  • Should violent movies and video games be banned?
  • Do zoos and circuses abuse animals?
  • Arranged marriage: a cultural tradition or outdated practice?
  • Raising children without being married
  • How to impart ethical behavior to the next generation
  • Ethics as a mandatory high school class
  • Do parents deceive children by telling tales of Santa Claus?
  • Should pharmaceutical patents be removed so affordable generics can be made?
  • 13 Reasons Why: Did it glorify suicide?
  • Wrongful termination case study
  • Is the borrowing limit for student loans too high?
  • Pay for play in college athletics
  • Performance enhancing steroids in competitive sports
  • Is it right to own a gun for personal protection?
  • Mandated reporting (Mandated reporters are individuals who are required to report any information they receive about abuse, suicidal ideation, etc.)
  • Can an influencer be held responsible if they promote a harmful product unknowingly?
  • Conventional versus organic produce
  • Food additives, preservatives, and cancer rates
  • Meat consumption and its effects on life expectancy
  • Dangers of sitting at a desk all day
  • Fast food industry and obesity rates
  • Medical marijuana to treat chronic conditions
  • GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in foods: to label or not to label?
  • Mandatory CPR and First Aid training for new parents
  • School cafeteria food and children’s health
  • Alternative uses of oral contraceptives
  • Restaurant responsibility with peanut, gluten, and other allergies
  • Everyday products that could be dangerous: deodorant, toothpaste, etc.
  • Teaching yoga and meditation in public schools
  • Moving from the “medical model” to holistic health
  • Massages as necessities rather than luxuries
  • Which vitamin supplements are worthless and should go off the market?
  • The mind-body connection and its influence on health
  • Social media and mental health
  • The cumulative effects of poor sleep (and how electronics impact our sleep)
  • IVF (Invitro fertilization): Should becoming a parent be covered?
  • Should there be more physical education in schools?
  • Is diabetes reversible?
  • Doctors and insurance: should they accept all insurance?
  • Do detox diets really work?
  • Is binge-watching Netflix bad for our health?
  • Keto vs Paleo vs Vegan: which is better?
  • Should a patient be allowed to deny medical care?
  • Pre-existing conditions and insurance rates
  • Employers should offer mental health days without question
  • Alternative sex education (not abstinence-only and inclusive of LGBT lifestyle)
  • Mind-body fitness versus traditional Western sports
  • Best genre and time period of music
  • Healthiest world cuisine
  • Uneven distribution of wealth: the top 1% versus everyone else
  • Cost of living versus average salaries
  • What to do about cults, gangs, and similar groups
  • How to get accepted into an Ivy League school
  • Religion versus spiritualism
  • Survival skills should be taught in school.
  • Benefits of forest schools for children
  • The best U.S. President in history
  • The most influential leader or figure in history
  • Most effective ways to manage stress
  • Obscure movies that people should watch
  • Multitasking: fact or fiction?
  • Buying a house versus renting an apartment
  • Most exciting travel destination
  • How to ace any test
  • Overcoming social anxiety
  • How our phones are hurting our eyes
  • Are multi-level marketing companies really pyramid schemes?
  • Protests: are they effective?
  • Is a wedding reception worth the price tag?
  • Should catfishing be a criminal offense?
  • Mandatory study abroad semester in college
  • Student loan borrowing: should it ever be forgiven?
  • Responsible credit card strategies
  • Living with parents to save money
  • Can someone find true love on The Bachelor?
  • Telemarketers and Harassment
  • Marvel vs DC

And there you have it – 100+ unique topics to stoke your imagination and help you identify your passion.

Feel free to go beyond these springboard ideas or customize them to your perspective.

Advice from Persuasive Speech Experts

To help you out even more, we asked the experts on the best tips for giving a persuasive speech.

From Melora Kordos, visiting assistant professor of theatre arts at Sweet Briar College:

When selecting a persuasive speech topic, a student should first look to her own interests and passions. If she chooses something that she cares deeply about or has great interest in, then she will be able to more easily identify the best three points that support her argument and focus on those in her speech. If she is not already engaged in the topic, it will be much harder to persuade others to agree with her point of view. She should use both logical and emotional appeals throughout her speech, giving her a better chance of resonating with a larger percentage of her audience.

From Dr. Allison Beltramini, associate professor of communications at Waubonsee Community College:

When doing a persuasive  speech , it’s helpful to choose a topic that you personally believe in or support. It’s much easier to speak on something that you have a connection to. The next tip is to do your homework. This includes exploring the opposite side of the issue. Your audience needs to know that you are well-versed in the topic. Incorporate this research to support the claims you are making. Curate your sources carefully. Know who/what organizations are behind the sources you are using. And please, verbally cite your sources. Using research without the verbal citations in your  speech  is plagiarism. Persuasion is incremental. You can’t just tell someone something and expect they will believe you. You have to set up the issue, show how the problem effect people, talk about what will help or fix the problem and show why the solutions will work. All of these steps are vital. Finally – practice is essential. Your  speech  should be prepared but conversational. Reading to an audience word for word is not a good idea.

From Nate Masterson, HR manager of Maple Holistics :

The key to giving a persuasive  speech  is to engage your audience, and there are several ways to do this. Firstly, make eye contact with different people in the audience, but make sure to scan the whole room and not just focus on one area. Also, research the group of people you will be addressing so that you better know their priorities, cultural norms, inside jokes, etc. To make sure that your speech is sufficiently compelling, stick to just a few main talking points or objectives. This will ensure that your speech stays focused and that you can spend adequate time and energy backing up these main points without boring your audience.

From Jeffrey Davis, executive speech coach at Speak Clear Communications :

First, the best speakers build their argument emotionally as well as logically. Every point has a complelling story attached to it. Second, they make arguments that are novel and innovative. The “how” of the argument is as important as the “why.” Lastly, great speakers do not hold back on hand gestures!  Gesturing is scientifically proven to enhance a speaker’s impression with the audience.

From Bridgett McGowen, CEO of BMcTALKS :

While it’s important your audience has a memorable experience during your presentation and that it learns something new or gains a new perspective on something it already knew, it is equally important to move the audience to actually do something with what you shared … something that will inspire or change their lives, professions, or communities … because you are there to persuade! Remember any time you present, consistently think to yourself “In what difference-making endeavor do I want my audience to join?” or “Now that everyone has heard this, now what?” Give them the answers to those questions to further your persuasive message.

From Martha Krejci, business coaching leader :

Don’t write everything out! The last thing you want to do is look like you’re reading a speech verbatim. You want to illuminate your authority in the field you are speaking about. Reading does not do that….at all. So, here’s what I do. I think about the end goal of what I’m trying to communicate. Then, reverse engineer the points that take us there. Write the points out on a notecard if you need it, or if you’re lucky enough to have a teleprompter, use that. And finally, above all…tell stories! Don’t just have a bunch of dry information that anyone with a wifi signal could google. Tell stories that bring your audience into your problem, but also your solution you propose. If you can master storytelling, you may just be surprised by how good you can get at public speaking.

From Neil Thompson, founder of Teach the Geek :

Telling an easy-to-follow story is crucial in being persuasive. If people have to think too hard to understand what you’re talking about, they’re less likely to listen. If they don’t listen, you won’t have a chance to persuade them. If there are studies, surveys, or other types of data that can vouch for what you’re saying, that’ll also go a long way to persuading others. Lastly, you have to believe what you’re talking about. If you truly believe your message, it’ll shine through and people will be inclined to believe you, too.

From Adam Cole, expert writer and author:

Number one is the invitation to listen. It ensures that the listener has a context in which to understand what you are presenting so that everyone is on the same page when the important information comes. The invitation may contain relevant humorous anecdotes to break the tension and present the speaker as appealing, and it must be accessible enough that the listener will at least know what the topic is and why they should care. Number two is the topic. Depending on the complexity of the topic, it should be structured for maximum clarity. While humor and anecdotes can be used to illustrate the point, they should not distract from it or become the focus (unless the task is to highlight the speaker, rather than the topic, which is ok). Number three is the follow-through. If the listener has learned something, a good summation will help them retain the most important points from the learning so that they can remember it and follow up with more learning (perhaps from the speaker’s books, videos, or other appearances!) Taking the topic and framing it in terms of an action step for the audience may be a powerful way for them to keep the presentation (and the speaker) in their heads.

Conclusion: Best Persuasive Speech Topics

Remember, your passion and expertise on the topic will translate to audience engagement – and hopefully a good grade!

  • Delivering a persuasive speech doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience if you’re prepared and passionate.

In the words of Cicero: “A good orator is pointed and impassioned.”

To follow the advice of the great Roman orator, find your passion and then express it through your persuasive speech.

The skills you develop now in this area will benefit you throughout your professional and personal life.

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112 Persuasive Speech Topics That Are Actually Engaging

What’s covered:, how to pick an awesome persuasive speech topic, 112 engaging persuasive speech topics, tips for preparing your persuasive speech.

Writing a stellar persuasive speech requires a carefully crafted argument that will resonate with your audience to sway them to your side. This feat can be challenging to accomplish, but an engaging, thought-provoking speech topic is an excellent place to start.

When it comes time to select a topic for your persuasive speech, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options to choose from—or your brain may be drawing a completely blank slate. If you’re having trouble thinking of the perfect topic, don’t worry. We’re here to help!

In this post, we’re sharing how to choose the perfect persuasive speech topic and tips to prepare for your speech. Plus, you’ll find 112 persuasive speech topics that you can take directly from us or use as creative inspiration for your own ideas!

Choose Something You’re Passionate About

It’s much easier to write, research, and deliver a speech about a cause you care about. Even if it’s challenging to find a topic that completely sparks your interest, try to choose a topic that aligns with your passions.

However, keep in mind that not everyone has the same interests as you. Try to choose a general topic to grab the attention of the majority of your audience, but one that’s specific enough to keep them engaged.

For example, suppose you’re giving a persuasive speech about book censorship. In that case, it’s probably too niche to talk about why “To Kill a Mockingbird” shouldn’t be censored (even if it’s your favorite book), and it’s too broad to talk about media censorship in general.

Steer Clear of Cliches

Have you already heard a persuasive speech topic presented dozens of times? If so, it’s probably not an excellent choice for your speech—even if it’s an issue you’re incredibly passionate about.

Although polarizing topics like abortion and climate control are important to discuss, they aren’t great persuasive speech topics. Most people have already formed an opinion on these topics, which will either cause them to tune out or have a negative impression of your speech.

Instead, choose topics that are fresh, unique, and new. If your audience has never heard your idea presented before, they will be more open to your argument and engaged in your speech.

Have a Clear Side of Opposition

For a persuasive speech to be engaging, there must be a clear side of opposition. To help determine the arguability of your topic, ask yourself: “If I presented my viewpoint on this topic to a group of peers, would someone disagree with me?” If the answer is yes, then you’ve chosen a great topic!

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for what it takes to choose a great persuasive speech topic, here are over one hundred options for you to choose from.

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  • Should high school athletes get tested for steroids?
  • Should schools be required to have physical education courses?
  • Should sports grades in school depend on things like athletic ability?
  • What sport should be added to or removed from the Olympics?
  • Should college athletes be able to make money off of their merchandise?
  • Should sports teams be able to recruit young athletes without a college degree?
  • Should we consider video gamers as professional athletes?
  • Is cheerleading considered a sport?
  • Should parents allow their kids to play contact sports?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as professional male athletes?
  • Should college be free at the undergraduate level?
  • Is the traditional college experience obsolete?
  • Should you choose a major based on your interests or your potential salary?
  • Should high school students have to meet a required number of service hours before graduating?
  • Should teachers earn more or less based on how their students perform on standardized tests?
  • Are private high schools more effective than public high schools?
  • Should there be a minimum number of attendance days required to graduate?
  • Are GPAs harmful or helpful?
  • Should schools be required to teach about standardized testing?
  • Should Greek Life be banned in the United States?
  • Should schools offer science classes explicitly about mental health?
  • Should students be able to bring their cell phones to school?
  • Should all public restrooms be all-gender?
  • Should undocumented immigrants have the same employment and education opportunities as citizens?
  • Should everyone be paid a living wage regardless of their employment status?
  • Should supremacist groups be able to hold public events?
  • Should guns be allowed in public places?
  • Should the national drinking age be lowered?
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  • Should the government raise or lower the retirement age?
  • Should the government be able to control the population?
  • Is the death penalty ethical?


  • Should stores charge customers for plastic bags?
  • Should breeding animals (dogs, cats, etc.) be illegal?
  • Is it okay to have exotic animals as pets?
  • Should people be fined for not recycling?
  • Should compost bins become mandatory for restaurants?
  • Should electric vehicles have their own transportation infrastructure?
  • Would heavier fining policies reduce corporations’ emissions?
  • Should hunting be encouraged or illegal?
  • Should reusable diapers replace disposable diapers?

Science & Technology

  • Is paper media more reliable than digital news sources?
  • Should automated/self-driving cars be legalized?
  • Should schools be required to provide laptops to all students?
  • Should software companies be able to have pre-downloaded programs and applications on devices?
  • Should drones be allowed in military warfare?
  • Should scientists invest more or less money into cancer research?
  • Should cloning be illegal?
  • Should societies colonize other planets?
  • Should there be legal oversight over the development of technology?

Social Media

  • Should there be an age limit on social media?
  • Should cyberbullying have the same repercussions as in-person bullying?
  • Are online relationships as valuable as in-person relationships?
  • Does “cancel culture” have a positive or negative impact on societies?
  • Are social media platforms reliable information or news sources?
  • Should social media be censored?
  • Does social media create an unrealistic standard of beauty?
  • Is regular social media usage damaging to real-life interactions?
  • Is social media distorting democracy?
  • How many branches of government should there be?
  • Who is the best/worst president of all time?
  • How long should judges serve in the U.S. Supreme Court?
  • Should a more significant portion of the U.S. budget be contributed towards education?
  • Should the government invest in rapid transcontinental transportation infrastructure?
  • Should airport screening be more or less stringent?
  • Should the electoral college be dismantled?
  • Should the U.S. have open borders?
  • Should the government spend more or less money on space exploration?
  • Should students sing Christmas carols, say the pledge of allegiance, or perform other tangentially religious activities?
  • Should nuns and priests become genderless roles?
  • Should schools and other public buildings have prayer rooms?
  • Should animal sacrifice be legal if it occurs in a religious context?
  • Should countries be allowed to impose a national religion on their citizens?
  • Should the church be separated from the state?
  • Does freedom of religion positively or negatively affect societies?

Parenting & Family

  • Is it better to have children at a younger or older age?
  • Is it better for children to go to daycare or stay home with their parents?
  • Does birth order affect personality?
  • Should parents or the school system teach their kids about sex?
  • Are family traditions important?
  • Should parents smoke or drink around young children?
  • Should “spanking” children be illegal?
  • Should parents use swear words in front of their children?
  • Should parents allow their children to play violent video games?


  • Should all actors be paid the same regardless of gender or ethnicity?
  • Should all award shows be based on popular vote?
  • Who should be responsible for paying taxes on prize money, the game show staff or the contestants?
  • Should movies and television shows have ethnicity and gender quotas?
  • Should newspapers and magazines move to a completely online format?
  • Should streaming services like Netflix and Hulu be free for students?
  • Is the movie rating system still effective?
  • Should celebrities have more privacy rights?

Arts & Humanities

  • Are libraries becoming obsolete?
  • Should all schools have mandatory art or music courses in their curriculum?
  • Should offensive language be censored from classic literary works?
  • Is it ethical for museums to keep indigenous artifacts?
  • Should digital designs be considered an art form? 
  • Should abstract art be considered an art form?
  • Is music therapy effective?
  • Should tattoos be regarded as “professional dress” for work?
  • Should schools place greater emphasis on the arts programs?
  • Should euthanasia be allowed in hospitals and other clinical settings?
  • Should the government support and implement universal healthcare?
  • Would obesity rates lower if the government intervened to make healthy foods more affordable?
  • Should teenagers be given access to birth control pills without parental consent?
  • Should food allergies be considered a disease?
  • Should health insurance cover homeopathic medicine?
  • Is using painkillers healthy?
  • Should genetically modified foods be banned?
  • Should there be a tax on unhealthy foods?
  • Should tobacco products be banned from the country?
  • Should the birth control pill be free for everyone?

Do Your Research

A great persuasive speech is supported with plenty of well-researched facts and evidence. So before you begin the writing process, research both sides of the topic you’re presenting in-depth to gain a well-rounded perspective of the topic.

Understand Your Audience

It’s critical to understand your audience to deliver a great persuasive speech. After all, you are trying to convince them that your viewpoint is correct. Before writing your speech, consider the facts and information that your audience may already know, and think about the beliefs and concerns they may have about your topic. Then, address these concerns in your speech, and be mindful to include fresh, new information.

Have Someone Read Your Speech

Once you have finished writing your speech, have someone read it to check for areas of strength and improvement. You can use CollegeVine’s free essay review tool to get feedback on your speech from a peer!

Practice Makes Perfect

After completing your final draft, the key to success is to practice. Present your speech out loud in front of a mirror, your family, friends, and basically, anyone who will listen. Not only will the feedback of others help you to make your speech better, but you’ll become more confident in your presentation skills and may even be able to commit your speech to memory.

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to write a powerful, unique persuasive speech. With the perfect topic, plenty of practice, and a boost of self-confidence, we know you’ll impress your audience with a remarkable speech!

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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 55 great debate topics for any project.

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General Education


A debate is a formal discussion about a topic where two sides present opposing viewpoints. Debates follow a specific structure: each side is given time to speak either for or against the topic at hand.

Many students study debate in high school to improve their speaking skills. As a debater, you learn how to clearly structure and present an argument. The skills you develop as a debater will help you on everything from a college admissions interview to a job presentation.

Selecting debate topics is one of the most important parts of debating. In this article, we’ll explain how to select a good debate topic and give suggestions for debate topics you can use.

How to Select Good Debate Topics

A good debate topic is one that lets the participants and the audience learn about both sides of an issue. Consider the following factors when selecting a debate topic:

Interest: Are you interested in the topic? Would the topic be interesting to your fellow classmates, as well as to the audience listening to the debate? Selecting a topic that you’re interested in makes the preparation part of the debate more exciting , as well as the debate more lively.

Argument Potential: You want to choose a debate topic that has solid argument potential. If one side is clearly right, or if there isn’t a lot of available information, you’ll have a hard time crafting a solid debate.

Availability of Data: Data points make an argument more robust. You’ll want to select a topic with lots of empirical data that you can pull from to bolster your argument.

Now that we know how to select a debate topic, let’s look at a list of good debate topics.

Debate Topics Master List

If you’re searching for your next debate topic, here are some suggestions.

Social and Political Issues Debate Topics

  • All people should have the right to own guns.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Human cloning should be legalized.
  • All drugs should be legalized.
  • Animal testing should be banned.
  • Juveniles should be tried and treated as adults.
  • Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity today.
  • Violent video games should be banned.
  • The minimum wage should be $15 per hour.
  • All people should have Universal Basic Income.
  • Sex work should be legal.
  • Countries should be isolationist.
  • Abortion should be banned.
  • Every citizen should be mandated to perform national public service.
  • Bottled water should be banned.
  • Plastic bags should be banned.

Education Debate Topics

  • Homework should be banned.
  • Public prayer should not be allowed in schools.
  • Schools should block sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram on their computers.
  • School uniforms should be required.
  • Standardized testing should be abolished.
  • All students should have an after-school job or internship.
  • School should be in session year-round.
  • All high school athletes should be drug tested.
  • Detention should be abolished.
  • All student loan debt should be eliminated.
  • Homeschooling is better than traditional schooling.
  • All schools should have armed security guards.
  • Religion should be taught in schools.
  • All schools should be private schools.
  • All students should go to boarding schools.
  • Sexual education should be mandatory in schools.
  • Public college should be tuition free.
  • All teachers should get tenure.
  • All school districts should offer school vouchers.


Health Debate Topics

  • Healthcare should be universal.
  • Cosmetic procedures should be covered by health insurance.
  • All people should be vegetarians.
  • Euthanasia should be banned.
  • The drinking age should be 18.
  • Vaping should be banned.
  • Smoking should be banned in all public places.
  • People should be legally required to get vaccines.
  • Obesity should be labeled a disease.
  • Sexual orientation is determined at birth.
  • The sale of human organs should be legalized.
  • Birth control should be for sale over the counter.

Technology Debate Topics

  • Social media has improved human communication.
  • The development of artificial intelligence will help humanity.
  • Individuals should own their own DNA.
  • Humans should invest in technology to explore and colonize other planets.
  • Governments should invest in alternative energy sources.
  • Net neutrality should be restored.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be encouraged or banned.
  • Alternative energy can effectively replace fossil fuels.
  • Cell phone radiation is dangerous and should be limited.

How to Prepare for a Debate

Once you’ve selected your debate topic, the next step is to prepare for your debate. Follow these steps as you get ready to take the podium.

Read Your Evidence

The most important step to building your debate confidence is to familiarize yourself with the evidence available. You’ll want to select reputable sources and use empirical data effectively.

The more well read on your topic you are, the better you’ll be able to defend your position and anticipate the other side’s arguments.

Anticipate the Other Side’s Arguments

As part of your debate, you’ll need to rebut the other side’s arguments. It’s important to prepare ahead of time to guess what they’ll be talking about. You’ll bolster your own side’s argument if you’re able to effectively dismantle what the other side is saying.

Plan to Fill Your Speech Time

Each speaker at a debate is limited to a certain amount of time. You should plan to use every second of the time that you’re allotted. Make sure you practice your talking points so that you know you’re within the time frame. If you’re short, add in more evidence.

Practice to Build Confidence

It can be scary to take the stage for a debate! Practicing ahead of time will help you build confidence. Remember to speak slowly and clearly. Even if your argument is great, it won’t matter if no one can understand it.

Final Thoughts

Debate is a great way to hone your public speaking skills and get practice crafting and defending an argument. Use these debate topics if you're searching for a focus for your next debate.

What's Next?

Looking for ways to keep the debate going in non-academic life? Then you'll love our list of 101 "this or that" questions to argue over with your friends.

Thinking about how you can use your argumentative skills in a future career? Read up on the five steps to becoming a lawyer to see if that's a path you want to pursue.

Getting ready to take an AP test? Here’s a list of practice tests for every AP exam, including the AP literature exam .

It can be hard to schedule time to study for an AP test on top of your extracurriculars and normal classwork. Check out this article on when you need to start studying for your AP tests to make sure you’re staying on track.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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100 persuasive speech topics to amaze your audience.

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Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

This article provides a comprehensive list of persuasive speech topics and answers to some of your frequently asked questions about speech topics. 

Persuasive writing is hard, and it’s even harder to try to come up with an engaging topic that interests you and your audience. 

Not only do you have to convince your audience to take your side on subjects that are often pretty divisive, you also have to persuade them to take your side of the argument. The first step to making a successful persuasive speech that will amaze your audience is having a strong topic.  

Keep reading for 100 persuasive speech topics.

100 Topics for a Persuasive Speech

Persuasive speech ideas are harder to come up with than you may think. There is a fine balance between interesting your audience, interesting to you, unique and fresh, all while being thought-provoking without being outright offensive. 

Here is a breakdown of various topics for persuasive speeches, organized by categories, to inspire you. 

1. Arts & Culture

Art and culture are always hot topics amongst individuals and groups. There are many interesting arguments and stances on both topics, and many people have strong opinions when it comes to the subject matter. 

See below for prompts for persuasive speeches about art and culture: 

  • Is graffiti art? 
  • Should art classes be mandatory for all students?
  • Should we keep reading classic literature that is offensive? 
  • Should there be a distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ literature?
  • Are romcoms and erotica series like Fifty Shades of Grey empowering for women?
  • Is reading actually more beneficial than watching TV or playing video games?
  • Is there any benefit or relevance to teaching high school students Shakespeare?
  • Should video games be considered a high form of entertainment?
  • Are biographical movies of deceased musicians and artists ethical?
  • Is modern music really worse than older music?
  • Should paparazzi be banned and unable to sell their photos?

Topics in arts and culture are always fun to debate and discuss because you have the opportunity to talk about your favorite pieces of media!

2. Economics

Economics is a hotly debated topic. There is no shortage of compelling, engaging arguments involving economics. 

Here are some good persuasive speech ideas on the topic of economics: 

  • Is capitalism a functional, ethical economic system? 
  • Should everyone, despite their income, be taxed at the same rate?
  • Can we introduce another economic system to our society? 
  • Should each state, the federal government, or individual companies be responsible for setting a living wage?
  • Should everyone adapt to the four-day work week?
  • Should people who make under a certain amount per year not be taxed at all?
  • Should governments encourage and reward people for shopping locally? 
  • Should advertisements be banned during TV and media programming aimed at kids?
  • Has modern consumerism gone too far?

Economics is a great topic for a persuasive speech because it affects our everyday lives in so many ways. There are tons of research and perspectives to help support your argument. 

3. Education

Many people feel strongly about education and there are many sides and perspectives that come into play: teachers, parents, students, student athletes, and more. 

Here is a list of some engaging topics to write a persuasive speech on:

  • Should post-secondary education be free?
  • Should taking a year off between high school and college be mandatory?
  • Is it fair to take cell phones away from kids in middle/high school while they are in class?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory in all high schools?
  • Should cursive writing still be taught in schools?
  • Do frats and sororities actually serve their purpose? 
  • Should programming and coding be introduced to young students?
  • Should school lunches be free?
  • Does the education system prepare students for adult life?
  • Should gyms be mandatory for all students?
  • Do schools need to do a better job at teaching students a second language?
  • Should distant learning be encouraged, or avoided at all costs?

Education is another great topic to write a speech about because it intersects with economics, culture , and politics . These topics will guarantee an engaged audience. 

4. Environment

Since the release of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Greta Thunberg’s unapologetic activism, climate change has been at the forefront of many political, economic, and cultural conversations. 

If environmental issues spark your interest, consider writing on one of the topics below:

  • Can we ever live in a truly ‘green’ and environmentally friendly society?
  • Should water bottles be banned?
  • Are businesses responsible for implementing environmentally friendly production and products?
  • Should there be a carbon tax?
  • Should electric cars be mandatory in the near future?
  • Should we switch over to entirely renewable energy?
  • Do low-income families have the same duties to be eco-conscious as high-income families do? Should plastic bags and single use plastic be completely banned?
  • Should car racing be banned?

The environment and climate change are becoming, if not already, some of the most pressing issues of our day. 

Ethics may be one of the most difficult topics to write a persuasive speech about because the topics tend to cover sensitive subject matter. However, ethics are also some of the most compelling and complex topics to explore. 

Here are some potential topics for a persuasive speech about ethics:

  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Is drinking coffee unethical?
  • Should more people try to adopt a vegetarian/vegan diet?
  • Is the death penalty ethical? 
  • Should justice systems and incarceration facilities focus on rehabilitation over punishment? 
  • Should cosmetic plastic surgery be covered by insurance?
  • Are morals objective or subjective?
  • Should zoos and circuses be banned?
  • Should fur coats be illegal?
  • Are censorship laws ethical?
  • Is it ethical to genetically modify an embryo? 
  • How should we, and who is responsible, for addressing the homelessness crisis? 
  • Should minors who commit violent crimes be charged and tried as adults?

Tackling a persuasive speech on ethics is a challenge, as many of these topics are complex and sensitive. It can also be difficult to wrap up a speech on such huge ethical debates. 

However, these topics also provide some of the most riveting and energizing debates - if you’re up to the challenge, you should definitely try to tackle one of these topics. 

From fitness to food prices to economic privilege, there are tons of debatable topics regarding health. Here are just some of the potential topics you can write a speech on:

  • Are individuals solely responsible for their own health?
  • Should prescription medications be free?
  • Should sugary drinks like pop be taxed at higher rates?
  • Should Starbucks be allowed to advertise their high-calories and high sugar drinks?
  • Should the government regulate the prices of fruits and vegetables?
  • Should fast food restaurants regulate and reduce their portions?
  • Should gym memberships be free?
  • Should the government change and restructure the work week to reduce stress?
  • Should nurses be paid more?
  • Should insurance companies fully cover rehabilitation stays for health issues like eating disorders?

People have varying opinions and understanding of health, which makes these topics very engaging and interesting to write about.

7. Politics

It goes without saying that almost every political issue is debatable. 

  • Do we actually live in a truly democratic society?
  • Should there be a minimum wage or a living wage?
  • Should the legal voting age be decreased?
  • Should there be stricter gun laws?
  • Should Presidents be able to serve more than two terms?
  • Should everyone get the day off work to go vote?
  • Should political party funding be regulated?
  • Should political smear campaigns be banned?
  • Is there a political bias in mainstream media?
  • Should you date someone with opposing political views? 

Politics are all about persuading people to take a side, which makes it a strategic topic for delivering a moving persuasive speech. 

Sports is another big topic that people care a lot about. There are sports related matters that are questioned everywhere: sports on TV, the Olympics, college sports and athletics, and athletic sponsorships . 

Below is a list of captivating sports topics for a persuasive speech: 

  • Should the pay for professional teams be based on audience viewership? 
  • Are professional sports getting too violent? 
  • Are athletes overpaid?
  • Is cheerleading empowering or exploitative? 
  • Should children be allowed to compete in competitive sports?
  • Should we continue spending millions of dollars on the Olympic Games?
  • Do people put too much importance on high school and college football?
  • Should alcohol and tobacco ads be banned during sports?
  • Is betting on sports teams ethical?
  • Should high school and college athletes be paid?

Sports is a topic that people don’t often think of as controversial. However, your audience is bound to be engaged and contemplating your argument as you present your speech. 

9. Technology

As the world increasingly moves to online spaces, and technology advances faster than ever before, technology is another hot topic that people have a lot of thoughts and opinions on. 

  • Should all workplaces offer hybrid/remote work?
  • Should we pursue Artificial Intelligence?
  • Do we need to put resources into travelling to space?
  • Should parents monitor their children’s online activity?
  • Is it okay for phones to use facial recognition and fingerprint technology?
  • Is technology actually addicting?
  • Can we blame technology for increased stress and anxiety?
  • Are security cameras and body cameras an invasion of privacy? 
  • Should the internet be surveilled or managed?
  • Should video game chats be surveilled or even banned?
  • Are machines replacing human labor? 
  • Should cloning be outlawed/banned?

As technology continues to advance and expand into our personal lives, it is a great topic to write a unique persuasive speech on.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Speech Topic?

The best persuasive speech topics are topics that are not overdone, and topics that the speaker is genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about. 

Persuasive speech topics should also be a bit controversial (this does not mean offensive) because the topic and speech itself should be thought-provoking. The more people are emotionally invested in the topic, the better. 

For example, while you can try to persuade your audience that strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream, it’s unlikely that many people have a strong emotional investment in that topic. Without an emotional investment, audiences will be sitting listening to your speech thinking: “so what?” 

On the other hand, a topic like “Should government’s set limits on how many children a family can have in overpopulated countries?” is emotionally charged and truly matters to people.

FAQs: Persuasive Speech Topics

After reading through all the possible topics you can write a persuasive speech on, you may still have some questions before you get going. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about persuasive speech topics. 

1. What Are Some Easy Persuasive Topics?

Any persuasive topic can be easy to write about if you are passionate about your stance. The more passionate and knowledgeable you are about your topic, the easier it will be to research and write. 

There are also easy persuasive topics that are more lighthearted than controversial, which some people may find easier to debate and write about. Some easy persuasive topics include: 

  • Should everyone have a three-day weekend?
  • Should every public place have free Wi-Fi?
  • Can money buy happiness?
  • Does social media do more harm than good?
  • Should kids get paid for getting high grades?
  • Do we need more holidays?

These topics are all fun to debate, which makes it easy to write a persuasive speech or essay. Whereas some persuasive topics can be complex and sensitive, the topics listed above are pretty straightforward, which makes them easier to discuss than more complex topics. 

2. What Is a Good Persuasive Speech Topic For School?

A good start to finding a good speech topic for school is looking for a topic that involves something related to school. For example, you can look into talking about school uniforms, class sizes, tuition and scholarships, and school sports, just to name a few. 

Having a speech topic related to school is a good idea for school because your audience (teachers and peers) are directly in that environment as well. This means they will likely be more engaged as the topic, whether they agree or disagree, is relevant to their everyday lives. 

3. What are Three Examples of a Persuasive Speech Topic?

Any of the above topics listed in this article are examples of persuasive speech topics. Three specific examples that have not been listed are:

  • Is social media to blame for the rates of depression and anxiety amongst youth?
  • Do young adult romance novels encourage harmful and toxic relationships to their target audience?
  • Should children under 18 have total control over medical decisions made about their bodies?

These topics are examples of persuasive speech topics because you need to take a clear stance in order to answer the question. The point of a persuasive speech is to convince or persuade the audience that your side of the argument is valid and should be considered, so the topic needs the individual to take a specific stance. 

As briefly touched upon before, your topic needs to interest your audience for a successful persuasive speech. While you should make sure your topic isn’t overdone, you don’t want to go with something too ‘safe’ as that will most likely bore your audience.

Final Thoughts

Coming up with a topic for a persuasive speech may be the most difficult part of the writing process. 

Read over our list of topics and pick out a few topics that genuinely interest you. From there, do some preliminary research on each topic and see which one has the strongest evidence to support your argument. Then, you’ll be good to start writing your persuasive speech that will amaze your audience!

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Best Controversial Topics for Speech and Debate

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Controversial Topics for Speech and Debate

Top Controversial Topics for Speeches and Debates

1. The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence      Discuss the potential benefits and risks of AI, including issues related to career moves, biases in algorithms, and privacy implications.

2. Climate change and denial      Explore the scientific consensus on climate change the reasons for climate change denial, and possible solutions.

4. Firearms laws      Engage in arguments for and against stricter gun control laws, and discuss Second Amendment rights, public safety, and gun control many of these.

5. Freedom of Speech vs. Freedom of Hate Speech      Find out if there should be restrictions on certain expression policies by examining free speech restrictions, especially on hate speech.

6. Reservation System in India      Explore the effectiveness and fairness of India's reservation policies, discussing their impact on social equality, representation, and economic development.

7. Censorship in the Digital Age      Debate the role of social media platforms and governments in censoring content, balancing the need for prevention against the right to free speech.

8. Death Penalty      Consider issues of human rights, deterrence, and potential for wrongful conviction, and discuss the morality and effectiveness of the death penalty.

9. The Legality of Recreational Drugs      Analyze the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana and other recreational drugs by considering factors such as health effects, crime reduction, and government revenue.

10. Immigration Policies and Restrictions      More open approaches are debated on the ethics and merits of strict immigration policy, considering cultural integration, economic impact, and national security.

11. LGBTQ+ Rights and Discrimination      Discuss ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, including issues of discrimination

12. Universal Basic Income      Explore the concept of a Universal Basic Income for all citizens and speak about its benefits, drawbacks and financial effects.

13. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

14. Animal Rights and Ethics      Debate the treatment of animals in numerous industries, talk problems which include manufacturing unit farming, animal trying out, and the moral implications of using animals for food or amusement.

15. Privacy within the Digital Age      Examine the balance between non-public privateness and national security, specifically inside the context of research, records series, and online privateness.

16. Refugee Crisis and Immigration Policies      Debate the ethical responsibilities of nations regarding refugees and immigrants, considering issues of security, human rights, and cultural integration.

17. The Vaccination Mandate      Discuss the want for public fitness vaccine mandates considering man or woman desire, herd immunity, and potential threat.

18. Religious Freedom vs. Secularism      Explore the tension between religious freedom and secularism in public institutions, discussing issues such as religious displays, prayer in schools, and religious exemptions.

19. GMO: Genetically Modified Organisms      This issue creates a strong impression on both sides. Supporters argue that GMOs have the potential to boost crop yields, improve dietary content, and assist combat meal scarcity. On the other hand, critics, express worries about its long-term effects on human health and biodiversity.

20. Online Video Games and Aggressive Behaviour      It has always been a controversial topic whether violent video games are making children more aggressive. Discuss the other factors that can be contributors to such behaviour. Highlight the ways to support children in playing online games ethically.

21. Women’s Rights and Gender Equality      Explore issues such as gender-based violence, wage inequality and women’s representation, and discuss progress and challenges for gender equality.

22. Censorship in Media and the Arts      Censorship of the Media and the Arts is a highly controversial issue concerning what content is or is not considered acceptable in society. Debate the concerns about artistic freedom, cultural sensitivity and social values.

23. Global Wealth Inequality      Explore the disparities between the world's richest and poorest populations, discussing the impact on social stability, economic growth, and access to basic needs.

24. Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament      Highlight the risks and benefits of nuclear weapons, discussing disarmament efforts, non-proliferation treaties, and potential Global Security Problems.

25. Authoritarianism Government      Examine why the world is witnessing the rise of authoritarian leaders and governments. Discuss its impact on democracy, freedom and global stability.

26. Religious Extremism and Global Terrorism      Debate the global impact of religious extremism and terrorism. Address the root causes, counterterrorism strategies and the role of international cooperation.

27. Genetic Engineering      Discuss ethical considerations in genetic engineering. Explain the challenges and their long-term consequences. Highlight the advantages and disadvantages of genetic modification.

28. Online Disinformation (Fake News)      With the increasing use of the internet and mobile, this is one of the major controversial issues in recent years. The spread of fake news has greatly affected the elections in almost every country in the world. Discuss the topic, risks and strategies to tackle this issue.

29. Ethical consumption      The act of purchasing goods and services manufactured in a socially and environmentally friendly manner is the need of the hour. Discuss these issues, probable solutions and their effects.

30. Animal Testing for Medical Research      Discuss the ethical considerations of using animals for scientific experiments, considering advancements in technology and alternative methods.

31. Surrogacy and Reproductive Rights      Debate the ethical implications of surrogacy arrangements, addressing issues of commodification of women's bodies and the rights of intended parents.

32. Schooling vs. Homeschooling      Explore the benefits and drawbacks of traditional schooling versus homeschooling, considering factors such as socialization, curriculum, and personalized learning.

The topics we covered are just a few examples to give you an idea while choosing a controversial topic for your debate and speech. You can browse the internet to find more topics for speech. Also, go through the global current affairs in newspapers and news bulletins to get ideas for the controversial topics. Thoroughly research the selected topic to understand the complexities and present sound perspectives. Be well-prepared and present each issue with respect. You might engage with opposing arguments and face different points of view. All the best!

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