Essay on Civil Disobedience, By Nelson Mandela

Essay on Civil Disobedience, By Nelson Mandela

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Apartheid activist Nelson Mandela once said that “there is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” This relates to civil disobedience because it shows that a life that is less then what you should have or want should not make a person content (Mandela). Civil disobedience is a form of protest where protestors violate a law to prove a point that they feel a certain law is wrong and show how they feel. Most activists that practice civil disobedience are calm, thoughtful, and understand the legal penalties (Suber). The purpose of civil disobedience is often to change laws and protect the rights of some group or people. It also represents an important concept that sometimes laws are not morally right and do not convey justice so the way to fix it is to show one’s dislike but peacefully enough to make other’s think of the concept of the specific law (Starr). Nelson Mandela’s involvement in civil disobedience was due to personal influences, he chose to participate in civil disobedience to protest the lesser rights of the colored people in South Africa and unjust laws forbidding them from voting, separating them, or lessening the their value, and he did achieve success using this controversial method of standing up for what he strongly believes to be right.
To understand Nelson Mandela’s role in civil disobedience, one must first have knowledge of his personal life. Nelson Mandela was born July 18, 1918, into a royal family who spoke Xhosa and were a Thembu tribe in the South African village of Mvezo. His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as chief there during his life. His mother, Nosekeni Fanny, was the third wive out of four, who gave birth to nine da...


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...of imprisonment for fighting against apartheid, and due to that he had chronic lung problems. Nelson Mandela had served his country as the first black president and led the change from white minority rule to democracy when he was living. As a result the government announced that his death left the nation without its moral center at a time of troubles and non-contentment with the country’s leaders (Delviscio). As Nelson Mandela once said "It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership” (Mandela). Nelson Mandela’s involvement in civil disobedience was obviously due to some personal influences in which he chose to protest law he found unjust and successfully got rid of with some time, effort, and sacrifice.

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