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Civil disobedience is a tranquil form of rally toward specific laws. It is no the same was lawlessness. Models of civil disobedience are the civil rights movements of Martin Luther King Jr. and the bus boycott that Rosa Parks did. Another example is the civil rights movements of Gandhi. In the essay “Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, he debates that citizens must oppose the rule of law if those laws are proven to be inequitable. He induces on his encounters and reveals why he declined to pay taxes in a rally against slavery and the Mexican War.
Thoreau also argues that laws, being human-made, are not accurate, that there is a more eminent divine law, and that when those laws dispute, one must obey the essential law. In my research paper, I will first describe and explain Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) by Henry David Thoreau and why he wrote Civil Disobedience. Then I will give and explain examples of civil disobedience. Finally, I will take a position, for, against, or hybrid of the use of civil disobedience. I am for the use of civil disobedience because your actions will be taken seriously and into consideration as opposed to protesting violently when your action won’t be taken into consideration.
Keywords: Civil Disobedience, Law, Thoreau, Government
Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) by Henry David Thoreau
In the essay “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, he debates that citizens must oppose the rule of law if those laws are proven to be inequitable. He induces on his encounters and reveals why he declined to pay taxes in a rally against slavery and the Mexican War. In the essay “Civil Disobedience” Thoreau says, “That government is best which governs least,” he means that the government is best and most effective when it manages over less. In Thoreau’s view, the government should be for the use of working towards the human conscience. He believed that the government system strips the right to private life and individual experience. Because of this view, Thoreau came to the conclusion that the government is corrupted before the people can willfully act through it.
Background of Thoreau and why He Wrote Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a philosopher and writer strongly identified for his denunciations on American social traditions and his regard for nature and simple livelihood. He was massively inspired by the writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, who proposed Thoreau to the concepts of transcendentalism. In addition to Civil Disobedience (1849), Thoreau is best acknowledged for his book Walden (1854), which documents his encounters living as an individual on Walden Pond in Massachusetts from 1845-1847. During his life, Thoreau highlighted the value of individuality and self-reliance. He studied civil disobedience in his personal life and spent a night in jail for his opposition to paying taxes in protest of the Mexican War. (Thoreau was opposed to the practice of slavery in some of the territories occupied.). Thoreau contends that laws, being human-made, are not accurate, that there is a more eminent divine law, and that when those laws dispute, one must obey the essential law. (Steven G. K., 2006)
Summary of Civil Disobedience
Civil disobedience is a form of political participation that displays a deliberate determination to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences. In order for an act to be recognized as civil disobedience, one must break a law you believe is unjust, one must use peaceful methods (NO VIOLENCE), and one must be prepared to bear the outcomes (jail, beatings, etc.). Henry David Thoreau started the movement of civil disobedience when he refused to pay the toll-tax to support him Mexican War. Excellent representatives of civil disobedience are Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi strived for independence from Great Britain and Martin Luther King Jr. persisted for civil rights for all citizens.
The Civil Rights Movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are prime representatives of civil disobedience in action. Gandhi is the leader of India’s struggle for freedom from Great Britain. He coordinated protests through the methods of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. He fought against racial prejudice against Indians, advocated civil disobedience, equal rights, no caste system. The Civil Rights Movement, led by Martin Luther King Jr., is a movement in the United States originating in the 1960s and led primarily by Blacks in an attempt to establish the civil rights of individual Black citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. believes it’s okay to go against a law when it goes against your ethical principles and your action has the purpose of profiting the general people.
Position: For civil disobedience
I am for the use of civil disobedience because your actions will be taken seriously and into consideration as opposed to protesting violently when your action won’t be taken into consideration. By committing the act of civil disobedience one is saying that they are prepared to take responsibility for their performances. The negative consequences of their actions include going to jail, getting beatings, maybe execution, etc. Moraro (2018) says that a citizen who violates the law owes something to his fellows. Sometimes, this may involve going to jail, or paying a fine; other times, it may involve declaring an apology; in other cases, still, it might simply involve revealing his strategy to them.
In conclusion, civil disobedience is a peaceful form of rally toward specific laws. Even though one is not committing any act of violence, the consequences of one’s actions are still great. Some consequences include going to prison, flogging, etc. Gandhi, a prime example of civil disobedience, fought for India’s freedom from Great Britain. Martin Luther King Jr., another prime example of civil disobedience, fought for the civil rights of citizens of the United States. Gandhi led the Salt March, while Martin Luther King Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. took a risk and stood by what they believed.