Controversial Speech Topics That Will Wake Your Audience

14 Jul 2023


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.

By field


  1. No negative political campaigning should prevail
  2. Electronic voting: concerns around security and privacy.
  3. A President governing  a nation by a set code of ethics
  4. Abolition of the electoral college
  5. Black Lives Matter VS Blue Lives Matter


  1. What is the impact of minimum wage on employment?
  2. Tax rates are too high
  3. Governments bailing out banks and financial institutions
  4. Should farmers receive financial protection from perils such as droughts and pests?
  5. Labor unions


  1. The national deficit
  2. Political campaign finance reforms
  3. Differences in salaries: professional athletes vs. military men and women
  4. Student loan debt

Social policy

  1. Women have less wealth. How to fix this.
  2. The American welfare state
  3. Culture wars: Stigma and discrimination
  4. Social work and service delivery issues
  5. 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
  • Genocide


  1. Make personal health records public
  2. Medical malpractice protection
  3. Ethics around the study of human genetics
  4. Medical marijuana and its benefits
  5. Animal testing and experiments

Nature and Environment

  1. Should we continue using pesticides and harm the environment?
  2. Recycling programs should be mandatory
  3. Garbage output should be restricted on a weekly basis
  4. Global warming: is it happening or mere propaganda?
  5. Recycling


  1. The US-Iraq war was wrong
  2. Where is lasting peace for the Middle East?
  3. The US should stop playing the world policeman
  4. Diplomacy or force? What should we do with North Korea?
  5. We shouldn’t allow Iran to go nuclear

Law and order

  1. Outlaw capital punishment
  2. Firearms with high-capacity magazines should be outlawed
  3. Mandatory federal sentencing and its impact
  4. How safe are shall-issue laws for concealed carry permits?
  5. Prisoners have their rights


  1. Should churches continue enjoying their tax-exempt status?
  2. Why do churches say NO to divorce?
  3. Organized religion has no place in society today
  4. Teaching religion in public schools: does it benefit society?
  5. Holy Spirit in Christian churches today

Science and researches

  1. Use of eugenics to enhance humans
  2. Implanted GPS
  3. Should we refrain from using genetically modified food products
  4. Hormone replacement therapy and ovarian cancer
  5. Is human cloning ethical?


  1. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia
  2. Should there be slavery reparations?
  3. Partial-birth abortion
  4. Protection and individual nourishment of children in “the system.”
  5. Every person’s life should be protected


  1. Sex offender notification
  2. Same-sex marriages: legal or illegal?
  3. LGBTQ’s have their rights
  4. Birth control: it’s regulation and availability
  5. Men to take their share in the birth control burden


  1. Gambling; legal or illegal
  2. Rock and roll is the best kind of music
  3. Why advertising alcohol and cigarettes should be banned
  4. Social impact of violent video games
  5. Body tattooing among other body art


  1. Age limit for sexual education
  2. Homeschooling and its impact on children
  3. Should bilingual education be mandatory?
  4. Evolution or creation? Which one should be taught in public high schools?
  5. Schools have fallen short of their life skills classes.

By Purpose


  • 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

For adults

  • 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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