Civil Disobedience example

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Civil Disobedience


The civil disobedience is often viewed as the democratic movement for opposing to the current government and overthrowing it. Moreover, it is necessary to support the movement with the reforms and changes within the systems. The works of Thoreau and their resonance in the ideas of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and the movements led by them definitely support this statement.

Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) and Summary of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

The Civil Disobedience written by Thoreau exposes the criticism of the government and its inefficiency in realizing the reforms. The author condemns the slavery as well as the American-Mexican War and the policies and institutions of the USA. On the contrary to other leaders of his epoch, he approached apatheism and the problem of African-American rights from the totally different perspective. Instead of fighting or insisting on eye-for an eye principle, he asserted on the importance of preserving peace and for the Civil movement as the tool for accomplishing goals in a non-violent way (Patterson). On the contrary to other leaders, he did stress that not only blacks were discriminated in American society. He claimed that all colored people were to be protected by the laws of the state and no difference was to be made among them due to the place of origin, race or any other irreverent physical feature. He also asserts that justice delayed is justice denied. In my opinion, it is truly since those who involuntarily have become victims of crime want their revenge immediately in order to at least overcome their fear before the criminal and to get moral satisfaction. On the other hand, offender should receive fair punishment for the deeds he or she has committed. Otherwise, the offender will continue to abuse the rights of others as he realizes that he would not be punished for his actions. Thoreau also notes that freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressors. Instead, it should be fought for by the oppressed. Finally, he divides the laws into two categories: fair and unfair or unjust. He considers that those which are made in accordance with the moral law and law of God should be followed as they are just and fair and made not to violate someone’s rights. At the same time, there are unjust laws which are created by majority in order to oppress minority. They could be followed as they breach fundamental rights of person.

Background of Thoreau

The academic journey of Martin Luther King started with the Essay on Civil Disobedience where Thoreau reflected on the idea of social rebellion as a way to overthrow the abusive governments. Years before Thoreau experienced the abuses of rights of African American citizens. He saw the Ku Klux Klan in action and the brutality of the police force. At the same time, he notes that the white people have been oppressed to. Therefore, the government that was empowered at those times was ineffective. Thus, the first touch with the theory of …

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