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160 Persuasive Essay Topics to Write About

persuasive essay topics

Brainstorming for Success

When you're following a step-by-step guide to writing a compelling persuasive essay, the first step is brainstorming for ideas. This may seem easy, but it’s actually pretty difficult due to the sensory overload we experience every hour of every day. For most of us, we usually keep our phones on so we can hear the constant notifications for text messages, calls, and news updates. Many of us also work on computers all day and when the workday is over we often watch TV. Then there’s the constant hustle and bustle of traffic, convenience stores and supermarkets, bars and restaurants, and any number of sights, sounds, odors we encounter throughout the day. All of this is enough to distract even the most determined person, so your first step is to find somewhere quiet and free of distractions.

A library is usually a good, quiet place to start, but a park or even a quiet room in your home or apartment will work. Once you get some good ole peace and quiet, take out a notepad and a pen, or if you’re not so easily distracted you can use your phone or laptop, and start listing some themes or categories you find interesting.

The object is to cast a wide net with the themes and then start listing topics within those themes. For example, science can be a general theme while you can then come up with some topic ideas on AI within that theme. Just remember that your topics should be interesting, ideas that you’re knowledgeable on, and ones that can be argued from more than one side. Sometimes it can help to write your topics in the form of questions, although this isn’t a requirement.

So, to help out your brainstorming session a bit, here are some themes and topics I’ve brainstormed.

Easy Topics

The title speaks for itself. These are some of the most basic topics that can appeal to larger audiences. You probably don’t have to do much research on these topics because they’re primarily based on the writer’s opinions.

  • What are the best cars for families?
  • What are the best vacations on a budget?
  • Should the voting age be lowered or raised?
  • Why are the Appalachian Mountains better than the Rocky Mountains?
  • What are the benefits of private schools?
  • The best soft drink in your country.
  • Do children need strict discipline?
  • What’s the best backpack for college students?
  • What’s the best way to meet people in a new city?
  • Should more interstate highways be built?

Unique Topics

Try to think outside the box for topics in this category. There will be some overlap here with other categories, but the important thing to remember is that these topics should be a little obscure, “off the beaten track,” and possibly even uncommon.

  • Does Bigfoot exist?
  • Are there multiverses?
  • Do pets make us live longer?
  • What are the benefits of living in a subarctic environment?
  • Will print media cease to exist?
  • Is monotheism more advanced than polytheism?
  • What are the benefits of teaching martial arts in schools?
  • Should there be any borders?
  • What is the maximum lifespan of humans?
  • Can humans build cities under the oceans?

Funny Topics

You can really let your imagination wander for these topics. It’s probably best to avoid more controversial ideas for this theme, but if you can make them funny, then go ahead! Remember to keep things light, fun, and humorous if you’re brainstorming for persuasive essay topics that are funny.

  • Why does everyone hate anchovies on pizza?
  • Who is the best stand-up comedian in history?
  • Why are “dad” jokes so great?
  • Could Spiderman defeat Superman?
  • Should chimpanzees be given driver’s licenses?
  • Should parents be forced to learn teen lingo?
  • Has it become cringe to use the word “cringe”?
  • Why robots should be politicians
  • Is laughing gas really funny?
  • Why the “big hair” of the 1980s will never make a comeback.

Controversial Topics

For topics in this category, you’ll really want to challenge yourself and your audience. Political and social issues are often the most common, but almost anything that people are passionate about can be controversial. Just think of topics that make people emotional, either way, and you’ll have some good controversial topics. Remember, though, don’t limit yourself to your own beliefs and instead try to see both sides of the issue.

  • Is climate change real?
  • The benefits of the death penalty.
  • Should governments control religions?
  • Is IQ an accurate way to determine how smart a person is?
  • Should college be free for everyone?
  • Does the United Nations do any good?
  • Are limits on speech a good thing?
  • What is the purpose of marriage?
  • The benefits of birth control.
  • Should welfare/public aid exist?

More Persuasive Essay Ideas by Category

Now that I’ve given you a little help, you’ve no doubt come up with plenty of your own ideas. So, to help you further with your brainstorming, here are some more categories and ideas arranged by subject matter to think about.


  • What dog breed makes the best family pet?
  • Why do cats make better pets than dogs?
  • What’s the most delicious animal to eat?
  • Should reptiles be kept as pets?
  • Are dogs smarter than cats?
  • Should it be illegal to use certain animals for work?
  • Why fish are a difficult pet to keep?
  • What’s the most dangerous animal in the world?
  • Should all rodents be eliminated?
  • Do insects have any benefits?


  • Should art courses be mandatory in high school?
  • Who was the greatest artist of the nineteenth century?
  • Can something that doesn’t look like anything real be classified as art?
  • Why were Greek sculptors emulated by Renaissance artists?
  • What was the greatest era of art in history?
  • Should artists be subsidized by the government?
  • The benefits of art on society.
  • Is calligraphy an art form?
  • Is it right for art museums to display mummies and other human parts?
  • What will be the next great art movement?

Business and Economics

  • What is the best economic system?
  • Should businesses be required to pay higher taxes?
  • Why is cryptocurrency a good investment?
  • Will gold and silver always be valuable?
  • What’s the best small business to start?
  • The benefits corporations give to society.
  • Is economic protectionism good for a country?
  • Should small business classes be mandatory in high school?
  • Will capitalism eventually fail?
  • Should governments transition to digital only currencies?

Education and Philosophy

These two subjects may seem unrelated at first, but if you think about it they’re closely connected. After all, the earliest Greek philosophers were also teachers!

  • Should college admissions be tightened or lowered?
  • Are high schools properly preparing kids for the real world?
  • Should families play a bigger role in what kids learn?
  • Was Confucious or Plato the more important philosopher?
  • Is love something that can be taught?
  • Should home economics be a mandatory course in high school?
  • Does homeschooling hamper a child’s ability to forge lasting friendships?
  • What practical life lessons should be taught in high school?
  • The benefits of learning about abstract philosophy.
  • Should Machiavelli’s The Prince be taught to high school students?


  • The best social media apps for musicians.
  • How did Taylor Swift become so popular?
  • Are movie reboots ever better than the originals?
  • Will swing dancing come back in style?
  • Do authors have to be dead to be considered great?
  • Why did K-Pop become a global phenomenon?
  • Is it ethical to watch pirated movies?
  • Who is the greatest country music musician of all time?
  • What are the health benefits of listening to classical music?
  • Will reality TV get even trashier?

Health and Nutrition

  • Did COVID-19 mandates go too far, or not far enough?
  • Will scientists ever discover a cure for cancer?
  • Should states legalize “hard” drugs such as cocaine, LSD, and heroin?
  • What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
  • Should health care be the same and free for everyone?
  • Can autism be eliminated?
  • Should fast food be restricted by the government?
  • The benefits of a high-protein diet.
  • Is cardio or strength training better for your heart?
  • Should the government ban tobacco?

History and Government

  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Was Alexander the Great the greatest general in history?
  • Is war part of the human condition?
  • Could the United States have avoided entering World War II?
  • Why did the Roman Empire collapse?
  • How did money originate?
  • Was Genghis Khan a genius or a maniac?
  • The benefits of teaching civics in high school
  • What is the most important branch of the United States government?
  • Was slavery the primary issue that led to the Civil War?

Law and Human Rights

  • Should the United States government promote women’s rights in the Islamic world?
  • What should society do with repeat criminal offenders?
  • Has “no fault divorce” been good or bad for society?
  • Should all 18-year-olds be considered adults?
  • Is feminism completely good?
  • Should people lose their driver’s license after turning a certain age?
  • Do LGBT individuals have more or less rights than everyone else?
  • Should citizenship requirements be more stringent or less?
  • Does the government infringe on citizens’ privacy rights?
  • Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?

Mental Health

  • What are the best ways to deal with depression?
  • Are mental health and physical health connected?
  • The benefits of exercise on mental health.
  • Who was the greatest psychologist or psychiatrist in history?
  • Do doctors overprescribe anti-depressant medication?
  • Should accused criminals be allowed to plead “not guilty by reason of insanity”?
  • Are mental hospitals obsolete?
  • How does alcohol use affect mental health?
  • Has marijuana legalization been good or bad for mental health?
  • Is therapy better than medication for people with mental health issues?

Science and Technology

  • Will AI help or destroy society?
  • Should children be allowed to have smart phones?
  • Should testing cosmetic products on animals be banned?
  • Are electric vehicles the wave of the future or a flash in the pan?
  • The environmental benefits of nuclear power.
  • Is it practical to send a manned mission back to the Moon?
  • What’s the most efficient type of renewable energy?
  • Will humans ever travel beyond the solar system?
  • Can science in the ancient world really be considered science?
  • Should the government use surveillance technology to spy on certain individuals?

Social Issues

  • Can bullying be totally eliminated?
  • Does society determine beauty standards?
  • Is gender equality worth fighting for, or is it a myth?
  • Should governments ban all private gun ownership?
  • Will racial and ethnic conflicts ever be solved?
  • Should polygamy be legalized?
  • Does generational conflict exist, or is it an idea made up by the media?
  • Does the mainstream news media have too much influence over our lives?
  • Should tax payer funds be used to fund abortions?
  • Should the US Constitution be rewritten?


  • Do you have to be tall to be a good basketball player?
  • What’s the toughest position to play in baseball?
  • Who would win a hypothetical fight between Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson in their prime?
  • Why is gridiron (American football) only popular in North America?
  • Should the refs do more to eliminate fighting in hockey?
  • What country has the greatest soccer/football fans?
  • Should fishing be considered a sport?
  • Who’s tougher: mixed martial arts fighters or boxers?
  • Is professional wrestling a legitimate sport?
  • Was Arnold Schwarzenegger the greatest bodybuilder of all time?

Topics at Your Fingertips

Now that I’ve given you some ideas with these lists, you’ve probably come up with plenty of your own and are ready to start paper writing. Before you pick a topic, though, there are a few things I’d like to remind you of.

First, remember to pick a topic that interests you and is fun but also one that has plenty of available information to research. Obscure topics may be fun, but if you can’t find any facts to back up your opinion, your essay won’t be very persuasive. For example, if you want to write a thoughtful persuasive essay on AI in various subjects, you’ll have to cite statistics, experts, and other facts to make it truly persuasive.

It's also important to remember that any of the topics I’ve listed here, as well as any you come up with, can be argued from two sides. Always remember to think of the other side of a topic when you’re brainstorming ideas, and you may surprised that as you research a topic you could change your view on it.

Finally, remember to have fun while you’re brainstorming. The process can be mentally exhausting but also rewarding as you learn new things. If you go into the process with the right attitude I’m sure you’ll find the experience to be quite enjoyable!

Elissa Smart Elissa Smart
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