Relation between Civil Disobedience, Social Change and Reform

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Today, women in USA have the right to vote. A long time ago women in USA prohibited to vote. The suffragette movement successfully change that women have the rights to vote and the result in 19 Amendment is finally ratified, contain that men and women in the USA have the right to vote that is cannot be deny by the states. More than 1 million women in USA voted the election for the first time.

This movement can be considering as civil disobedience, civil disobedience can be classifying as non-violence. It means that the civil disobedience must be to understand a peaceful protest. He does not try to achieve his aim by the use of violence or threatening use of violence. Almost all academic commentators of today consider non-violence an essential characteristic of civil disobedience (Elliot, 1972). On the other hand, many scholars argue that a form of civil disobedience can be considering as violent act.

The way suffragette movement was using civil disobedience method to gain popularity and the goal this movement was to achieve social change and reform. I choose Suffgratte movement as my paper because this topic as an elaborate to civil disobedience and social change and reform. More specifically, how civil disobedience, social change and reform are appropriated to suffragette movement. In this paper focus on how suffragette movement uses civil disobedience method to achieve women right for the purpose social change and reform. In this paper I have chosen to examine civil disobedience, social change and reform that are to go hand in hand.


Civil disobedience is a particular protest of form that involve violent or non-violent of the law for certain purpose. Non-violent is people who struggle for freedom, not only from dictatorial grasps but from government control characterized by corruption and greed, marginalization, disgraceful policies, economic inequalities, human insecurity and especially violence, are the most powerful means available for those fighting for freedom (Sharp, 2010). The democratic fighting in Tibet, Zimbabwe, Iran, Belarus and Burma are some of the instances concerning non-violent fight to achieve social change (Sharp, 2003).

As a type of protest and opposition, civil disobedience has a lengthy history. It implies peacefully violating a law, literally. You can do it straight or as a symbol. In the case that you violate the precise law you disagree with, for example, direct civil disobedience would hand out clean hands to addicts to prevent HIV spread. On the other side, taking over a School Board office to draw attention to a poor policy is a symbolic civil disobedience, for you do not want to amend the legislation on infringement but want to focus on the absence of AIDS schooling.

Various kinds of civil disobedience include breach of a particular law, the taking over of offices, the blocking of traffic, and essentially any form of interruption. The technique of forcing change is civil disobedience by focusing on the issue and affecting public opinion. Here in the US Gandhi is two of history’s renowned figures who used civil disobedience to assist bring about change. People often turn to Civil disobedience when they feel powerful enough to put their lives and their liberty on the line. I say so because civil disobedience generally means doing something you may be stopped for. (Actupny, n.d)

For almost a hundred years, women in the United States struggled for confrontation, involvement in society lives, and official acceptance as citizens, and thus the freedoms of males. Before women’s suffrage was accept, women were simply regarded as masculine slaves and friends before women had been permitted to vote. They could not make their own opinions or assets openly known even if those freedoms were secured by the United States.

Bill of Rights, in addition, all people are established equal and must have the same privileges as the Declaration of Independence states. This meant that the US was an autonomous, equal and democratic country. Women’s suffrage should also be regarded as a by-product of this democratic impulse, though the fight was lengthy and hard. Therefore, universal suffrage was unavoidable, but women’s activities accelerated their success.

The effort women took in order to get the ballot has more simple and meaningful principles. All human beings shall have the same, equal rights with no regard to their sex or race. Thus Justice was indeed the fundamental contention for universal suffrage. Women should have the power to vote like males, as it subordinates them. But they had to comply with the legislation adopted by males, meaning that females also engaged in their production. Approved regulations, depending that created them, had an effect on both gender. ( Zahradníková, 2010)

In the 19th Century women began to fight for women’s rights and equality in public life, and the suffragettes’ movement emerged from the First Wave of Feminism. They advocated equivalent political and constitutional freedoms and the emancipation of females from traditional positions that restricted their life. Women have begun worldwide campaigns for advancing women’s freedoms and have started lobbying for the freedom to vote and have become recognized as’ Suffragettes. (Rosie, n.d)

In the United States, the entire process began in 1848, under the Seneca Falls convention, which was organized by leading militants Lucretia-Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Women’s vote could be achieved in the United States either by State or federal constitutional amendment. A statement of views on the basis of the Declaration of Independence was provided. A hundred males and females have signed and endorsed this paper and it is historically the first paper to protest openly against the existing economic condition of women.

Reform is make changes (e.g., in the social, political, economic or institutional field) to improve it (Cambridge, n.d)

Reform can be identification of three main categories, each distinguish by its general purpose, its peculiar dynamic reform, and its characteristic form and actors. For the sake of convenience these largest of all reform categories will be called modes. They are Mode 1, politico-economic reform, mode II reform on behalf of social group, mode III the presentation of alternative social models. Mode I is associated with conventions, platforms, campaigns, organizational meeting, and political oratory. Ballots, strikes, and boycotts are the particular property of this mode.

Mode II has many movement seems highlighted by the autobiographies of inspired leaders such as the feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the former slave Frederick Douglass, and the Black Muslim Malcolm X. This mode is also notable for public demonstration from antislavery parades to Women’s Party trashing to the interracial 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. stole the show. Mode III there is natural connection with drawings, plans, and specifications, but also with the futuristic romance.

According to definition of civil disobedience that refuse to obey certain laws and make it changes into better laws it is relate to reform, reform itself has definition to make changes to be better improvement such as social, political, economic and institutional field. Reform of Mode I is associated with conventions, platforms, campaigns, organizational meeting, and political oratory. Ballots, strikes, and boycotts are particular property of this mode. Characteristic Reform mode I has relation with civil disobedience, because civil disobedience itself has some types such as boycotts, long march, and campaign.

Civil disobedience, social change and reform, they look alike and they have relation to express their opinion what is wrong in government and changes it to be better. Suffragette movement is movement to make women have chance to vote. They have been through so much time to get women rights. Susan B. Anthony was arrested for illegally voting in the United States House of Representation election, 1872 in order to protest female disenfranchisement. The way Susan fight for women rights is represented as civil disobedience to make reform and social change. Reform here is to make amendment 19 change and to improve so that women has right to vote just like men. Social change here is the result of the progress from movement.


Civil disobedience can happen when someone feels that the government is not committing injustices, if the government is not really having good work. People have right to draw attention to these errors. If, after dialogue and negotiations with the conflicting group, the individual is still ignored, they could break the law for the purpose of drawing attention to their issue.

Reform is the way someone to make something to be better for example, social, politic, and economic. Social change is the result of the process from movement. Women in the US could not vote because they were the subject of to the authority of fathers and husband. Women should have power to vote just like men. Susan B. Anthony fights for women’s right so that they can vote. Amendment 19 was ratified, contain that men and women in the USA have the right to vote that is cannot be deny by the states. More than 1 million women in USA voted the election for the first time. This movement can be considering as civil disobedience and they try to change amendment 19 is representing as social change to achieve reform. So that civil disobedience, social change and reform is associated to make something to be better and have a result.


  1. Actupny.(n.d). Civil Disobedience. Retrieved from https://actupny.org/YELL/zine/civildis.html
  2. Cambridge, Dictionary. (n.d.). Reform. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/reform
  3. Rosie. (n.d). The Suffragattes. https://rosie.org.au/our-world/womens-rights/the-suffragettes/3,m.
  4. Sharp, Gene. (2003). There Are Realistic Alternatives. Boston: The Albert Einstein Institution.
  5. Sharp, Gene. (2010). From Dictatorship to Democracy (4th edition). Boston: The Albert Einstein Institution.
  6. Zashin, Elliot M. (1972), Civil Disobedience and Democracy. (New York: The Free Press). Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/civildisobedienc00zashv

Cite this paper

Relation between Civil Disobedience, Social Change and Reform. (2021, Feb 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/relation-between-civil-disobedience-social-change-and-reform/

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