Civil Disobedience

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All throughout world history, human beings have participated in acts of civil disobedience. However, in the last two centuries the belief and practice of it has been in full swing and has even brought on major historical events, especially concerning equal rights and just laws. Three major firm believers and activists in civil disobedience were Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. All three of these men participated in acts of civil disobedience but each in his own way and for different reasons. Henry David Thoreau believed that a certain war tax was unjust during the Mexican War and he refused to pay it. This then lead to his arrest and one day in jail where he wrote the essay "Civil Disobedience." Martin Luther King Jr. on the other hand participated in an act of civil disobedience for a much larger and important reason. He was fighting against segregation in America and for equal rights for all American citizens, including black that had been oppressed in America for over 300 years. Loved and followed by thousands, King sought equal rights for both himself and for others through non-violent marches and demonstrations, which in turn led to equal rights for all American citizens including blacks. Gandhi's participation in civil disobedience was by far the most effective and led to one of the most eventful periods in time; the independence of India from British rule. However, even though these men all believed in civil disobedience and equal rights for all, they all achieved their goals through different means and methods, as seen in the three quotes involving different forms of civil disobedience. The three quotes will then be discussed and compared to the works of King, Gandhi, and Thoreau. ... ... middle of paper ... ...r them. This situation was also explained when King said, " We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." Therefore, all three quotes represent acts of civil disobedience and relate in some way, shape, or form to the philosophies of Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. The philosophies of these three men show that there is no one way to participate in an act of civil disobedience and that there are certain rules and regulations that a disobeyer must follow in order to achieve their goal. And in addition, that goal could range from anywhere from the elimination of an unfair tax, independence from the rule of another country, or equal rights and opportunities for all.

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