Sample of lincoln-douglas
structure of ld debate:
1st Affirmative Constructive Speech 6 minutes
1st Cross-ex (Negative to Affirmative) 3 minutes
1st Negative Rebuttal 7 minutes
2nd Cross-ex (Affirmative to Negative) 3 minutes
1st Affirmative Rebuttal 4 minutes
2nd Negative Rebuttal 6 minutes
2nd Affirmative Rebuttal 3 minutes
List of past ld topics
In this one-on-one format, students debate a topic
provided by the Association. Lincoln-Douglas Debate
topics range from individual freedom versus the collective
good to economic development versus environmental
protection. Students may consult evidence gathered prior
to the debate but may not use the Internet in round.
An entire debate is roughly 45 minutes and consists of
constructive speeches, rebuttals, and cross-examination.
Considerations for ld debaters
Lincoln-Douglas Debate typically appeals to individuals
who like to debate, but prefer a one-on-one format
as opposed to a team or group setting. Additionally,
individuals who enjoy LD like exploring questions of how
society ought to be. Many people refer to LD Debate as
a “values” debate, as questions of morality and justice are
commonly examined. Students prepare cases and then
engage in an exchange of cross-examinations and rebuttals
in an attempt to convince a judge that s/he is the better
debater in the round.
• Resolved: The United States ought to prioritize the pursuit of
national security objectives above the digital privacy of its citizens.
• Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign
countries is unjust.
• Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental
protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.
• Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool.
• Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
• Resolved: The United States is justified in using private military firms
abroad to pursue its military objectives.
• Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies
ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
• Resolved: The abuse of illegal drugs ought to be treated as a matter
of public health, not of criminal justice
Traits of a successful ld debater
When considering what event you should choose, or in which
direction to point a student when selecting an event, below are
some general traits of successful LD debaters to keep in mind:
• Thinks logically
• Intrigued by philosophy