Do you need to write a persuasive essay but aren’t sure what topic to focus on? Were you thrilled when your teacher said you could write about whatever you wanted but are now overwhelmed by the possibilities? We’re here to help!
Read on for a list of 113 top-notch persuasive essay topics, organized into ten categories. To help get you started, we also discuss what a persuasive essay is, how to choose a great topic, and what tips to keep in mind as you write your persuasive essay.
What Is a Persuasive Essay?
In a persuasive essay, you attempt to convince readers to agree with your point of view on an argument. For example, an essay analyzing changes in Italian art during the Renaissance wouldn’t be a persuasive essay, because there’s no argument, but an essay where you argue that Italian art reached its peak during the Renaissance would be a persuasive essay because you’re trying to get your audience to agree with your viewpoint.
Persuasive and argumentative essays both try to convince readers to agree with the author, but the two essay types have key differences. Argumentative essays show a more balanced view of the issue and discuss both sides. Persuasive essays focus more heavily on the side the author agrees with. They also often include more of the author’s opinion than argumentative essays, which tend to use only facts and data to support their argument.
All persuasive essays have the following:
- Introduction: Introduces the topic, explains why it’s important, and ends with the thesis.
- Thesis: A sentence that sums up what the essay be discussing and what your stance on the issue is.
- Reasons you believe your side of the argument: Why do you support the side you do? Typically each main point will have its own body paragraph.
- Evidence supporting your argument: Facts or examples to back up your main points. Even though your opinion is allowed in persuasive essays more than most other essays, having concrete examples will make a stronger argument than relying on your opinion alone.
- Conclusion: Restatement of thesis, summary of main points, and a recap of why the issue is important.
What Makes a Good Persuasive Essay Topic?
Theoretically, you could write a persuasive essay about any subject under the sun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Certain topics are easier to write a strong persuasive essay on, and below are tips to follow when deciding what you should write about.
It’s a Topic You Care About
Obviously, it’s possible to write an essay about a topic you find completely boring. You’ve probably done it! However, if possible, it’s always better to choose a topic that you care about and are interested in. When this is the case, you’ll find doing the research more enjoyable, writing the essay easier, and your writing will likely be better because you’ll be more passionate about and informed on the topic.
You Have Enough Evidence to Support Your Argument
Just being passionate about a subject isn’t enough to make it a good persuasive essay topic, though. You need to make sure your argument is complex enough to have at least two potential sides to root for, and you need to be able to back up your side with evidence and examples. Even though persuasive essays allow your opinion to feature more than many other essays, you still need concrete evidence to back up your claims, or you’ll end up with a weak essay.
For example, you may passionately believe that mint chocolate chip ice cream is the best ice cream flavor (I agree!), but could you really write an entire essay on this? What would be your reasons for believing mint chocolate chip is the best (besides the fact that it’s delicious)? How would you support your belief? Have enough studies been done on preferred ice cream flavors to support an entire essay? When choosing a persuasive essay idea, you want to find the right balance between something you care about (so you can write well on it) and something the rest of the world cares about (so you can reference evidence to strengthen your position).
It’s a Manageable Topic
Bigger isn’t always better, especially with essay topics. While it may seem like a great idea to choose a huge, complex topic to write about, you’ll likely struggle to sift through all the information and different sides of the issue and winnow them down to one streamlined essay. For example, choosing to write an essay about how WWII impacted American life more than WWI wouldn’t be a great idea because you’d need to analyze all the impacts of both the wars in numerous areas of American life. It’d be a huge undertaking. A better idea would be to choose one impact on American life the wars had (such as changes in female employment) and focus on that. Doing so will make researching and writing your persuasive essay much more feasible.
List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics
Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you’ll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, “should fracking be legal?” you’d decide whether you believe fracking should be legal or illegal, then you’d write an essay arguing all the reasons why your audience should agree with you.
- Should students be required to learn an instrument in school?
- Did the end of Game of Thrones fit with the rest of the series?
- Can music be an effective way to treat mental illness?
- With e-readers so popular, have libraries become obsolete?
- Are the Harry Potter books more popular than they deserve to be?
- Should music with offensive language come with a warning label?
- What’s the best way for museums to get more people to visit?
- Should students be able to substitute an art or music class for a PE class in school?
- Are the Kardashians good or bad role models for young people?
- Should people in higher income brackets pay more taxes?
- Should all high school students be required to take a class on financial literacy?
- Is it possible to achieve the American dream, or is it only a myth?
- Is it better to spend a summer as an unpaid intern at a prestigious company or as a paid worker at a local store/restaurant?
- Should the United States impose more or fewer tariffs?
- Should college graduates have their student loans forgiven?
- Should restaurants eliminate tipping and raise staff wages instead?
- Should students learn cursive writing in school?
- Which is more important: PE class or music class?
- Is it better to have year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year?
- Should class rank be abolished in schools?
- Should students be taught sex education in school?
- Should students be able to attend public universities for free?
- What’s the most effective way to change the behavior of school bullies?
- Are the SAT and ACT accurate ways to measure intelligence?
- Should students be able to learn sign language instead of a foreign language?
- Do the benefits of Greek life at colleges outweigh the negatives?
- Does doing homework actually help students learn more?
- Why do students in many other countries score higher than American students on math exams?
- Should parents/teachers be able to ban certain books from schools?
- What’s the best way to reduce cheating in school?
- Should colleges take a student’s race into account when making admissions decisions?
- Should there be limits to free speech?
- Should students be required to perform community service to graduate high school?
- Should convicted felons who have completed their sentence be allowed to vote?
- Should gun ownership be more tightly regulated?
- Should recycling be made mandatory?
- Should employers be required to offer paid leave to new parents?
- Are there any circumstances where torture should be allowed?
- Should children under the age of 18 be able to get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons?
- Should white supremacy groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
- Does making abortion illegal make women more or less safe?
- Does foreign aid actually help developing countries?
- Are there times a person’s freedom of speech should be curtailed?
- Should people over a certain age not be allowed to adopt children?
- Should the minimum voting age be raised/lowered/kept the same?
- Should Puerto Rico be granted statehood?
- Should the United States build a border wall with Mexico?
- Who should be the next person printed on American banknotes?
- Should the United States’ military budget be reduced?
- Did China’s one child policy have overall positive or negative impacts on the country?
- Should DREAMers be granted US citizenship?
- Is national security more important than individual privacy?
- What responsibility does the government have to help homeless people?
- Should the electoral college be abolished?
- Should the US increase or decrease the number of refugees it allows in each year?
- Should privately-run prisons be abolished?
- Who was the most/least effective US president?
- Will Brexit end up helping or harming the UK?
- What’s the best way to reduce the spread of Ebola?
- Is the Keto diet a safe and effective way to lose weight?
- Should the FDA regulate vitamins and supplements more strictly?
- Should public schools require all students who attend to be vaccinated?
- Is eating genetically modified food safe?
- What’s the best way to make health insurance more affordable?
- What’s the best way to lower the teen pregnancy rate?
- Should recreational marijuana be legalized nationwide?
- Should birth control pills be available without a prescription?
- Should pregnant women be forbidden from buying cigarettes and alcohol?
- Why has anxiety increased in adolescents?
- Are low-carb or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
- What caused the destruction of the USS Maine?
- Was King Arthur a mythical legend or actual Dark Ages king?
- Was the US justified in dropping atomic bombs during WWII?
- What was the primary cause of the Rwandan genocide?
- What happened to the settlers of the Roanoke colony?
- Was disagreement over slavery the primary cause of the US Civil War?
- What has caused the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda triangle?
- Should nuclear power be banned?
- Is scientific testing on animals necessary?
- Do zoos help or harm animals?
- Should scientists be allowed to clone humans?
- Should animals in circuses be banned?
- Should fracking be legal?
- Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets?
- What’s the best way to reduce illegal poaching in Africa?
- What is the best way to reduce the impact of global warming?
- Should euthanasia be legalized?
- Is there legitimate evidence of extraterrestrial life?
- Should people be banned from owning aggressive dog breeds?
- Should the United States devote more money towards space exploration?
- Should the government subsidize renewable forms of energy?
- Is solar energy worth the cost?
- Should stem cells be used in medicine?
- Is it right for the US to leave the Paris Climate Agreement?
- Should athletes who fail a drug test receive a lifetime ban from the sport?
- Should college athletes receive a salary?
- Should the NFL do more to prevent concussions in players?
- Do PE classes help students stay in shape?
- Should horse racing be banned?
- Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
- Should children younger than 18 be allowed to play tackle football?
- Are the costs of hosting an Olympic Games worth it?
- Can online schools be as effective as traditional schools?
- Do violent video games encourage players to be violent in real life?
- Should facial recognition technology be banned?
- Does excessive social media use lead to depression/anxiety?
- Has the rise of translation technology made knowing multiple languages obsolete?
- Was Steve Jobs a visionary or just a great marketer?
- Should social media be banned for children younger than a certain age?
- Which 21st-century invention has had the largest impact on society?
- Are ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft good or bad for society?
- Should Facebook have done more to protect the privacy of its users?
- Will technology end up increasing or decreasing inequality worldwide?
Tips for Writing a Strong Persuasive Essay
After you’ve chosen the perfect topic for your persuasive essay, your work isn’t over. Follow the three tips below to create a top-notch essay.
Do Your Research
Your argument will fall apart if you don’t fully understand the issue you’re discussing or you overlook an important piece of it. Readers won’t be convinced by someone who doesn’t know the subject, and you likely won’t persuade any of them to begin supporting your viewpoint. Before you begin writing a single word of your essay, research your topic thoroughly. Study different sources, learn about the different sides of the argument, ask anyone who’s an expert on the topic what their opinion is, etc. You might be tempted to start writing right away, but by doing your research, you’ll make the writing process much easier when the time comes.
Make Your Thesis Perfect
Your thesis is the most important sentence in your persuasive essay. Just by reading that single sentence, your audience should know exactly what topic you’ll be discussing and where you stand on the issue. You want your thesis to be crystal clear and to accurately set up the rest of your essay. Asking classmates or your teacher to look it over before you begin writing the rest of your essay can be a big help if you’re not entirely confident in your thesis.
Consider the Other Side
You’ll spend most of your essay focusing on your side of the argument since that’s what you want readers to come away believing. However, don’t think that means you can ignore other sides of the issue. In your essay, be sure to discuss the other side’s argument, as well as why you believe this view is weak or untrue. Researching all the different viewpoints and including them in your essay will increase the quality of your writing by making your essay more complete and nuanced.
Summary: Persuasive Essay Ideas
Good persuasive essay topics can be difficult to come up with, but in this guide we’ve created a list of 113 excellent essay topics for you to browse. The best persuasive essay ideas will be those that you are interested in, have enough evidence to support your argument, and aren’t too complicated to be summarized in an essay.
After you’ve chosen your essay topic, keep these three tips in mind when you begin writing:
- Do your research
- Make your thesis perfect
- Consider the other side
Need ideas for a research paper topic as well? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.