Civil disobedience is the term assigned to actions taken by individuals to sway public opinion about laws that individuals deem unfair or unjust. Actions taken are usually nonviolent, and can include sit-ins, mass demonstrations, picket lines, and marches. Citizens are acting on their consciences, demonstrating highly advanced moral reasoning skills. Generally, these advanced skills fall into Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development, Stage Five and Six in particular. Characteristics of civil disobedience include no expression of anger, no cursing or insults, no retaliation, and submission to punishment by law enforcement. Historically, there have been many instances of civil disobedience: women’s suffrage, environmental protests, abolition of slavery, and anti-war movements. Two of interest are the civil rights movement and protests of the Vietnam War. These were nonviolent situations that turned violent when law enforcement officers or military got involved, resulting in murders, beatings, and mass arrests of protestors.
Civil disobedience is the result of individuals not adhering to a particular law as a matter of moral or political principles (Starr, 1998). Individuals of like minds usually form an organized group to protest the law and attempt to sway public opinion about the law in question. The desired outcome is to affect a change of the law in question, based on conscience of the dissenting group. This is something the Bill of Rights identifies as a right of governed peoples; “the authority of government is derived from the consent of the governed, and when any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it” (Bill of Rights, 1791, Amendmen...
... middle of paper ...
...ds Coalition to Unleash Power (n.d.) History of Mass Nonviolence. “Civil Disobedience Training. Retrieved from www.actupny.org/documents/CDdocuments/HistoryNV.
Answers.com (n.d.) Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from www.answers.com/topic/civil-disobedience.
Bill of Rights (1791). Retrieved from www.billofrights.org.
Infoplease.com (n.d.). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. Columbia University Press. Retrieved from www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0909663.
Starr, K. (1998). The Role of Civil Disobedience in Democracy. Retrieved from www.civilliberties.org/sum98role.
The Environmental Law Centre (1999). Civil Disobedience: A Legal Handbook for Activists. Retrieved from www.elc.uvic.ca/projects/1999-01/civil-disobedience.
Williams, C. R. & Arrigo, B. A. (2008). Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., p 162.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law” (King, Martin L., Jr.). When the African Americans were protesting oppression it was an act of civil disobedience. When the women’s suffrage movement happened thousands of women marched in the streets, they endured hunger strikes, and submitted to arrest to gain the right to vote (Starr).In other words, America has a long history of civil disobedience.... [tags: Protest, Civil disobedience, Law]
1174 words (3.4 pages)
- To grasp the meaning of Civil Disobedience one would have to say that it means the refusal to obey the civil laws so that the government can change the policy or legislation, characterized by the use of. I have read Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedience and the obligation that your conscience mind follows and in reading this it states that people should not let the governments overrule or atrophy their consciences and that we as people are obligated to not allow the government to make them agents of any type of injustice.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
1281 words (3.7 pages)
- Civil Disobedience is a deliberate violation against the law in order to invoke change against a government policy. Civil disobedience can come in the form of running a red light or j-walking, or in more noticeable methods such as riots. Coined by American author and poet Henry David Thoreau, the term has developed to define the act of disobeying a law one sees as unfit or unjust. Usually the purpose of civil disobedience is to gain public attention to a perceived injustice and appeal to or gain support from the public in a non-violent way.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
913 words (2.6 pages)
- How has civil disobedience been used to engender change. The human race has a long history of disobedience, beginning in the early biblical texts with the story of Adam and Eve. There are also many examples of civil disobedience the permeate known human history that include various forms of civil disobedience, including mass exodus, boycott, strike, non-cooperation and conscientious objection. Henry David Thoreau was a pioneer of modern civil disobedience when he refused to pay a poll tax because he believed the money would be used to fund the Mexican War.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
1050 words (3 pages)
- Civil disobedience, showing defiance against obeying a law or accepting a principle deemed unjust by his or her conscience. Advocates of civil disobedience, usually used as a form of passive resistance, use their morals to support their illegal actions for the sake of bringing awareness to their plight. Many faced beatings, imprisonment, and even death for pursuing a change and a revolution. The strategy of breaking laws has evoked the controversy of the integrity of civil disobedience. The proclaimers of civil disobedience have many points that obviously substantiate their views on the topic.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
1123 words (3.2 pages)
- For as long as there have been rulers, there has been disunity between rulers and ruled. Citizens have always found ways to show their disapproval of governmental decisions and demanded action. Civil Disobedience has existed since the ancient Greek . From Antigone's defiance of Creon over Ghandi's Salt march in India to the Occupy Movement. What does the aforementioned mean. Civil Disobedience, the term formulated by Henry David Thoreau, in his essay in 1848, to describe his refusal to pay the state poll tax, to fund the U.S.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
1612 words (4.6 pages)
- Civil disobedience has been around for a long time. In Bible times Christians would disobey laws that would go against their beliefs, such as the law that they couldn’t preach. (Acts 4) Christians still disobey laws in many countries that do not let them practice their faith, some end up in jail or killed. In the past in this country, Thoreau wrote an essay on Civil disobedience saying that people make the law and have a right to disobey unjust laws, to try and get those laws changed. Under British rule in India, the British were harshly oppressive and only interested in exploiting products from India for their own use, causing many Indians to become extremely poor.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
577 words (1.6 pages)
- The political concepts of justice and how a society should be governed have dominated literature through out human history. The concept of peacefully resisting laws set by a governing force can be first be depicted in the world of the Ancient Greeks in the works of Sophocles and actions of Socrates. This popular idea has developed over the centuries and is commonly known today as civil disobedience. Due to the works of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. civil disobedience is a well-known political action to Americans; first in the application against slavery and second in the application against segregation.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
932 words (2.7 pages)
- Abstract Civil disobedience is the term assigned to actions taken by individuals to sway public opinion about laws that individuals deem unfair or unjust. Actions taken are usually nonviolent, and can include sit-ins, mass demonstrations, picket lines, and marches. Citizens are acting on their consciences, demonstrating highly advanced moral reasoning skills. Generally, these advanced skills fall into Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development, Stage Five and Six in particular. Characteristics of civil disobedience include no expression of anger, no cursing or insults, no retaliation, and submission to punishment by law enforcement.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
1516 words (4.3 pages)
- Introduction Civil disobedience has always been a debated and polar opinionated topic since the first days that it was presented. Whenever it comes to going against a law that is set in stone as something to abide by in a society, some controversial actions are going to follow. The person who played the role as somewhat of a backbone in this movement was Henry Thoreau. In 1849, when Henry Thoreau re-iterated the idea of civil disobedience to the people of American following the Mexican war, it was viewed by some as extremely controversial, some viewed it as treason, and then there were the followers that were completely accepting of it and felt it necessary.... [tags: Protest Social Civil Disobedience]
1968 words (5.6 pages)