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Term Paper or Speech Topics

Have You Run out of Ideas for the Speech or Term Paper?

Check out these suggestions.  These are some hard questions, but well done research on them would lead to A’s.


  • Is abortion immoral?
  • Does everyone agree with you? Why? Why not?
  • Should abortion rights be restricted? In what way?
  • Can abortion ever be justified? If so, under what circumstances?
  • Is abortion safe for the mother?
  • Is research using fetal tissue from abortions acceptable? Why? Why not?


  • Should adoptions be encouraged?
  • Whose rights should be protected in the adoption process? What if birth parent rights conflict with the child’s rights or the adoptive parents’ rights?
  • What types of adoption should be encouraged? Cross racial? International?
  • Should gays and lesbians be allowed to adopt, if they are suitable parents in all other respects? Why? Why not?
  • Should adoption records ever be opened? If so, when?
  • Are some adoptions of more concern than others?


  • What are some of the causes of Africa’s social and economic problems?
  • Has the United States helped or hindered Africa’s development?
  • Why is famine so common in Africa?
  • Apartheid has been eliminated in the laws of South Africa. Has it been eliminated in the society of South Africa?
  • What policies on the part of the U.S. would be most effective in helping African nations develop?


  • How does society view aging and the aged? Is this different than 10 years ago? 20 years ago?
  • How will a growing aging population affect American society?
  • Should the current Social Security program be reformed? How?
  • Are improvements needed in the way we care for the health of the elderly? If so, what?
  • What quality of life do seniors face, now and in the future?


  • How serious is the global AIDS epidemic? How could an epidemic on another continent affect you?
  • What policies currently exist for HIV testing? How would you change them?
  • What policies would help control the spread of AIDS?
  • How should society deal with those who are HIV positive? Those with active AIDS?


  • Are there any health benefits to alcohol consumption?
  • Does the alcohol industry behave responsibly in marketing their products?
  • How should society treat alcoholism and alcoholics?
  • What can we, as a society, do to reduce the problems associated with alcohol use?

American Culture

  • Is there an “American” culture or is this country made up of many cultures? Have we ever had one culture?
  • How does mass media and entertainment affect our culture?
  • What cultural influences benefit our society? Which ones harm it?
  • What should be the role of government in our culture?

America’s Prisons

  • Are prisons an effective means of preventing crime?
  • How should inmates be treated while they are in prison? Where do you draw the line betweenexcess and inadequate punishment?
  • Should prisons use inmate labor? Why? Why not?
  • What are some alternatives to prisons? How effective are they?
  • With the prison overcrowding, should we continue to have minimum sentencing guidelines? Why? Why not?


  • Should the right to free speech ever be restricted? If so, under what circumstances?
  • Should pornography be covered by free speech laws? Why? Why not?
  • Should schools and libraries censor materials used by children?
  • Should the arts and/or the entertainment industry be covered by free speech laws?


  • What are the most serious problems facing China today?
  • What is the status of democracy and human rights in China today?
  • Does China pose a threat to the U.S.?
  • What should U.S. foreign policy be towards China?

Civil Liberties

  • Should there be limits placed on freedom of expression?
  • Is there a right to privacy? If so, what currently threatens it?
  • Should church and state be separate or should this be a Christian country?
  • How is the Internet affecting our civil liberties?

Colleges and Universities

  • Who should bear the largest portion of the tuition bill? College students? State government? Federal government?
  • Should international students be asked to pay more tuition at public colleges and universities than U.S. citizens? Why? Why not?
  • Who should control the programs offered at public colleges and universities? State government? Local boards of directors? Faculty?
  • Should curricula have certain courses that are required for all college freshmen and/or sophomores, no matter what their major? If so, which courses?
  • Do online courses teach students as well as classroom based courses? Are they suitable for all students?

Crime and Criminals

  • What are the causes of most crimes?
  • How should criminals be treated, after trial?
  • What can we do to reduce crime?
  • How can we control white collar crime?
  • Would gun control reduce the number of violent crimes?

Death and Dying

  • How can we, as a society, improve end-of-life care?
  • How can we help people cope with the death of a loved one?
  • Should we try to expand the human life-span?
  • Does a person’s belief in life after death impact their attitudes toward dying?


  • How has the use and abuse of antibiotics changed the way we treat diseases? What further reforms are needed?
  • What can be done to prevent the so called “lifestyle” diseases? (Pick one of these: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skin cancer)
  • What role should vaccinations play in health care? Should childhood vaccination for certain diseases be mandatory?
  • How should the health care system deal with the new epidemics such as SARS and the return of old ones such as TB?

Eating Disorders

  • Are eating disorders a serious problem in the United States?
  • Which part of the population is most at risk of developing an eating disorder? Why?
  • What are some of the causes of eating disorders? How can they be prevented?
  • How should eating disorders be treated?


  • Should charter schools receive government funding? Why? Why not?
  • How should we pay for public schools?
  • Is property tax a fair way to pay for local schools?
  • Should public schools be funded at the federal, state, local level, or some combination of these?
  • Who should control the curriculum of public schools? Parents? Community? Teachers? State? Federal government?
  • How should teachers be trained before they are allowed to teach? Who should pay for this training

Endangered Species

  • Is the rate of extinction a serious problem?
  • Are efforts to preserve endangered species working? Should saving an endangered species take priority over jobs? Development? Property rights?
  • What can we do to protect endangered species in other countries?

Entertainers (Actors, Musicians, Professional Athletes)

  • Are entertainers, including actors, musicians, and professional sports figures, overpaid for what they contribute? Why? Why not?
  • Should entertainers be role models for children or is that not part of their “role?”
  • Should entertainers be allowed the same right to privacy as the rest of the population, or is that
    something they sacrifice for fame and money?

The Environment

  • Is there an environmental crisis in the world today?
  • How can we prevent pollution as individuals? As a society? As a nation?
  • Is the American lifestyle bad for the environment?
  • What principles and values should guide American environmental policy?
  • Who should pay to clean up environmental messes from the past?
  • If the company responsible for a toxic waste site no longer exists, who should be responsible for
    the clean up?


  • Are there cases where you can see evolution at work, today? Explain them and what adaptations
    are being made?
  • Will we ever be able to reverse engineer extinct animals from preserved DNA?
  • How complete is the fossil record for (any species you want to investigate)?
  • Has there been an increase in people being born with genetic disorders? Why? How will it
    it affect the population?

Extremist Groups

  • Does religious fundamentalism, for any religion, benefit society?
  • Do radical liberal groups benefit society?
  • Do white supremacist groups promote hate and violence?
  • Do radical groups of any orientation pose a threat to the United States government?


  • In the United States, do you feel the family is still respected? Why? Why not?
  • How have divorce law changes affected families, in the United States?
  • How does the workplace affect families?
  • Should adoption receive more support than it currently receives? If so, what type of support?
  • Which government policies favor families? Which ones hurt them?


  • Is the status of women better now that it was 50 years ago? In all ways?
  • How has feminism affected U.S. society?
  • Is the feminist movement obsolete?
  • What political or economic goals should current feminists have?


  • What factors influence gang behavior?
  • How widespread is the problem with gangs?
  • What can the criminal justice system do to reduce gang violence?
  • What can society do to reduce the threat of gangs?

Garbage and Solid Waste

  • Is there a problem finding a place to store our garbage? If so, what is the cause?
  • How effective is recycling? Under what circumstances does it work best?
  • Is there a problem with disposing of toxic waste?
  • What changes could society make to reduce the amount of waste produced?

Genetic Engineering

  • How will genetic engineering affect society?
  • Is it ethical to use genetic engineering on humans?
  • How does genetic engineering affect the food we eat?
  • Who, if anyone, should regulate genetic engineering?

Global Resources

  • Are there mineral and other resources that the world is starting to run out of?
  • How important to the world are the agricultural resources of soil and climate?
  • How realistic is the current U.S. energy policy? What would you change? What would you keep?
  • What is the relationship between global population and resource use?
  • How does a market economy help preserve global resources? How does it use up global resources in an unfair way?

Global Warming

  • Is global warming a serious threat? In the future?
  • What are some causes of global warming?
  • How will global warming affect us? Is it affecting us now?
  • What measures should we, as a society, use to combat global warming?
  • What measures should you, as an individual, use to combat global warming?
  • How can we preserve the rainforests and will this help global warming?

Hate Groups

  • Are hate crimes a serious problem in the US?
  • Do certain groups promote violence and hate crimes?
  • Do extremist groups within the US present a serious threat to the US?
  • How can we reduce the number of hate crimes?

Health Care

  • Should insurance companies be allowed to influence treatments, since they pay for them?
  • Should we have a level of health care that is a basic right to all citizens? If so, who should pay for it?
  • How can we, as a society, provide health care for the uninsured poor or should we?
  • Medical costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation. What are some policies that the U.S. government could implement to curb this?
  • Nurses are often the first and main contact for patient care. Do you feel they should be in this role? If not, who should be? Are they compensated adequately for their work?


  • Is homelessness still a serious problem in the U.S.?
  • What are some of the causes of homeless families? Individuals?
  • What housing policies would benefit the homeless?
  • How should we, as a society, deal with homeless families? Homeless individuals?


  • What are the causes of homosexuality?  Is it genetic or a lifestyle choice?
  • Do homosexuals face discrimination in most of society?
  • Should society be pushed to accept homosexuality in individuals? Why? Why not?
  • Should society, through government institutions, accept homosexual families? Why? Why not?


  • Is there enough housing for medium and low income families? Why? Why not?
  • What type of housing is needed for the aged? Is there enough of it?
  • Does grouping low income housing in large, homogenous developments work? Why? Why not?
  • Many people are concerned with “urban sprawl.” How would you limit the growth of cities into
    the countryside?

Human Rights

  • Are there universal human rights that should be recognized world wide?
  • What is the current state of human rights in the United States?
  • What can the United States do to stop human rights abuses in other countries?
  • How should the United States respond to crimes against humanity, as defined by the International Criminal Court?


  • Should we have any restrictions on who is allowed to immigrate to this country? If so, which ones?
  • Is immigration a problem for the United States of is the problem illegal immigration?
  • How would you control illegal immigration?
  • How should US immigration policy be reformed?

India and Pakistan

  • How likely are India and Pakistan to engage in nuclear war?
  • What is the status of human rights, as we understand it, in Pakistan? In India?
  • What can the U.S. do to lessen the antagonism between these two countries?
  • What can the world community do to lessen the antagonism between these two countries?


  • How has the Internet affected the way we live today?
  • How serious is illegal activity on the Internet?
  • Should the Internet be regulated? If so, by whom?
  • What is the future of the Internet as a network? As a tool?

Interracial America

  • Should the differences between the races be emphasized or ignored?
  • Will immigration lead to a new interracial crisis?
  • How has affirmative action affected race relations?
  • How should society react to interracial marriages and the children of such marriages?
  • What is the current state of race relations in the U.S.? Is racism a serious problem?
  • How should the various levels of government respond to the concerns of minorities?
  • How can relations among the races be improved in the U.S.?


  • Are the values of Islam in conflict with those of the western countries?
  • What is the status of women under Islam, as opposed to in countries where Islam is practiced?
  • Does Islam promote terrorism. as a doctrine?
  • What policy should the US take towards those who practice Islam in this country?


  • Should Israel have been created after WWII?
  • What is the origin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
  • Do you think there will ever be peace between Israel and Palestine? Under what circumstances?
  • What should the US policy toward Israel be? Toward Palestine?

Juvenile Crime

  • Are juvenile crime and violence really increasing or is it perceived as a problem because of
    increased media reporting?
  • What are some of the causes of juvenile crime and violence?
  • What are some of the factors that contribute to gang membership among juveniles?
  • How can we, as a society, decrease juvenile crime and violence?


  • How serious a threat is the nuclear program in North Korea?
  • To what extent is democracy active in South Korea?
  • How should the U.S. foreign policy toward North Korea be developed?
  • What should the U.S. economic policy be toward South Korea?
  • Will North and South Korea ever be united into one country?

Legal System

  • What are the problems with the United States’ civil justice system? What changes would you make?
  • Is the jury system still effective in a world with instantaneous communication? If not, how would you change it?
  • Is there bias in the current United States criminal justice system? If so, who is favored?
  • What role should the media play in trials?

Life Philosophy

  • What gives life its ultimate meaning, to you?
  • What are your current life goals? Do you expect them to change? Why? Why not?
  • How do religions help people find meaning to life?
  • How should people determine what is moral and what is not?
  • What goals should our society strive toward?
  • What motivates people to behave in a moral manner?
  • What values should guide our lives?

Mass Media

  • Is bias in the media a serious problem?
  • Do you see a problem with a few companies owning most of the mass media in this country?
  • What affect does mass media have on our society?
  • How will the Internet affect broadcast and publishing media?

Media Violence

  • Is the amount of violence in the media (all media) a problem? If so, for whom?
  • Should the government be allowed to control the amount and type of violence in the media?
  • What can we, as a society do about excessive violence in the media?
  • Is there an artistic value to the violence seen in the media?


  • What are the advantages of the all volunteer services as opposed to the draft, and vice versa?
  • Do you think that the emphasis on technology over increased manpower in the various military services is a good thing? Why? Why not?
    What should women’s role be in the military services? Why?
  • What should the role of the U.S. military be in today’s world?


  • Does listening to violent lyrics create violent youth?
  • What is the “Mozart effect” and how valid is it?
  • What are the benefits of having children learn to play a musical instrument?
  • What are the problems of children listening to excessively loud music? How loud is too loud?


  • With the media saying eat low fat/high carbohydrate diets and then saying eat low carbohydrate diets, is there a “normal” diet that most people should follow?
  • Do you feel that increased portions in restaurants have contributed to the obesity epidemic? If so, how?
  • What should be the role of the schools in teaching/ modeling nutrition to children?
  • What role has the media (television, newspapers, magazines) played in the growing epidemic of obesity?
  • Should restaurants be held legally liable for a customer’s health problems because of the type of food on the menu or the amount served?


  • Do we have a shortage of petroleum or are the oil producers engaged in price gouging?
  • Should the U.S. government invest in alternative fuel technology?
  • What responsibility do auto makers have for our use of gasoline in the U.S.?
  • Should the U.S. government invest in public transportation, in particular in rural areas?
  • Do we need to ration gasoline?
  • To what extent does our use of petroleum influence U.S. foreign policy?


  • Is there any proof of any phenomenon usually called paranormal, that meets the rigor demanded by science?
  • Why do some people want to believe in paranormal phenomenon, even when they are shown natural causes for the activity?
  • Is there a possibility that there is life on other planets? How likely is it that the life forms are sufficiently scientifically advanced to regularly cross the vast distances between solar systems?
  • Is there a physical potential for ESP? (Here physical means something physically present in the brain)

Police Brutality

  • Is police misconduct a serious problem in the United States, compared to other countries?
  • What factors contribute to police brutality?
  • Do modern police methods lead to more police brutality or less?
  • Who should police the police?

Political Scandals

  • How serious is the problem of political corruption in the U.S.?
  • How relevant is a person’s private behavior to their ability to hold public office?
  • Should politicians be held to a higher moral standard than the average citizen? Why? Why not?
  • What reforms would help to prevent political corruption?

Popular Culture

  • What are the values shown by today’s popular culture?
  • Is today’s popular culture too coarse? Too violent?
  • What values would you like to see popular culture promote?


  • Is there a population problem? In this country? World wide?
  • What are the problems that come from population growth?
  • How does immigration affect the US population?
  • If there is a world wide population crisis, what policies should be pursued to solve it?


  • Is pornography harmful? To those who view it? To those depicted?
  • Should pornography be censored? Where? By whom?
  • How could Internet pornography be regulated in an international network?
  • How should women react to pornography? As a group? As individuals?

Race Relations

  • What is the current state of race relations in the US?
  • Is there a serious problem with racism in the US? In Michigan?
  • What government policies would improve race relations in the US?
  • What can we, as a society, do to improve race relations?

Religion in American Politics

  • Is America a religious nation? Should it be?
  • Can religion solve America’s social problems? How?
  • How can we protect religious freedom in America?
  • What role should religion play in America’s public schools?
  • Should religious values guide public policy in America? Which values from which religions?
  • Does religious discrimination still exist in America?
  • Is television evangelism a positive force in our society?


  • What are the sources of Russia’s political problems?
  • What is the chance of democratic government developing in Russia? Why?
  • Does turmoil in Russia pose a threat to world peace? How?
  • What role should the U.S. play towards Russia?

Sexual Violence

  • Is there a connection between viewing pornography, especially violent pornography, and rape?
  • Is there a connection between other forms of violent behavior and rape?
  • Does the media make the problem of sexual violence more serious than the frequency of occurrences merit?
  • How should society deal with the victims of sexual violence?
  • Does a woman’s behavior ever “invite” rape?
  • At what age should a minor make their own decisions about having sexual relations with an older person? Does the age of the older person change your opinion?

School Sports

  • What are the physiological effects of children with growing bodies playing contact sports?
  • What are the psychological effects of children playing team and other competitive sports?
  • Should student athletes be subsidized by colleges and universities? If so, in what way?
  • What role should inter-mural sports play in the schools?
  • Who should pay for the small part of the school population who participate in inter-mural sports?

Social Justice

  • Should the government do more to eliminate economic inequality?
  • What policies would promote social justice for African Americans? Should quotas be one of them?
  • What policies would promote social justice for women? Should quotas be one of them?
  • What should the US do to promote global social justice?

Sports and Athletes

  • Does playing organized sports benefit children?
  • What reforms would you suggest to college sports?
  • Is there a discrimination problem in sports? At the professional level? At the amateur level?
  • Is drug use by athletes a problem? If so, what would you do about it?

Teenage Sexuality

  • What factors influence teens in developing their attitudes toward sex?
  • Should society be concerned about sexually active teens? Why?
  • How should society respond to sexually active teens?
  • What information should be taught about sex, at what ages and by whom?
  • Should teenage girls be required to get their parent’s consent before getting birth control?
    Morning after pill? Abortions?

Terminal Illness

  • Do the terminally ill receive quality care in this country?
  • How should the physical and emotional pain of a terminal illness be dealt with? By the medical professionals? By family members? By the terminally ill patient?
  • Should physicians be permitted to hasten the death of terminally ill patients (euthanasia)? If so, under what
  • Is there a right to die for the terminally ill? Should the ill be allowed to decide when they want
    to die?

Urban America

  • What are the major problems that US cities are facing?
  • What could the federal government do to improve the situations in US cities?
  • What would you do to improve the lives of urban children?
  • What do you think will be the future of cities in today’s world?


  • Is the U.S. obligated to provide lifelong medical care to all veterans? Why? Why not?
  • Should veterans get preferential treatment when they apply for jobs? If so, to what extent?
  • Is counseling necessary for all veterans of conflicts to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder?
  • Should the orphaned children of veterans receive money for higher education?
  • How far should the U.S. go to rehabilitate wounded veterans? (Medical care, physical therapy, psychological therapy, job training, etc.)
  • What does the United States owe to the families of veterans?


  • Is violence a serious problem now in the United States compared to the past?
  • What are some of the causes of violence? In groups?
  • What factors are particularly significant in causing youth violence?
  • How should society respond to violent individuals? Groups?


  • What are some of the causes of war?
  • Is war ever justified? Are there “good” wars?
  • Should we have international rules for conducting war, such as the Geneva Conventions?
  • What can we, as a country, do to prevent war?

War on Drugs

  • Is the “war on drugs” succeeding? If so, in what ways?
  • Are any of the current drug policies working? If so, in what ways?
  • Should some or all illegal drugs be legalized? If so, which ones and why?
  • Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes, if not for recreational use?
  • What would you do to improve the war on drugs, in the United States?

War on Terrorism

  • Is the War on Terrorism as currently being waged, justified?
  • Is the War on Terrorism on the home front, a threat to our civil liberties?
  • Are the Ear on Terrorism measures taken so far, making us safer?
  • How has our War on Terrorism affected our role in the world?

Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • How much danger is there of our country being attacked by a weapon of mass destruction?
  • How should the world deal with countries that develop weapons of mass destruction?
  • What should be the US policy toward nuclear weapons, both its own and those of other countries?
  • How can the US defend its citizens against weapons of mass destruction?


  • Does welfare encourage a sense of dependence and kill independence?
  • How common is abuse of the welfare system?
  • Can charities totally replace the welfare system? Are there parts they can replace?
  • What reforms of the current welfare system would you suggest? Why?