Henry David Thoreau And Martin Luther King Jr.

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History has encountered many different individuals whom have each impacted the 21 in one way or another; two important men whom have revolted against the government in order to achieve justice are Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. Both men impacted numerous individuals with their powerful words, their words carried the ability to inspire both men and women to do right by their morality and not follow unjust laws. “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” by David Henry Thoreau along with King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, allow the audience to understand what it means to protest for what is moral. A transcendentalist whom strongly urged passive, non-violent resistance to the government’s policies to which an individual is morally opposed wrote his ideas in his essay,“On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” in the year 1849. Thoreau’s transcendentalist belief is seen in his text continuously, “In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs”(Thoreau 4). As a white male who was given the right to vote, Thoreau’s writing is more direct and critical given that he, unlike King, had more rights meanwhile King was a negro victim, “We have waited for more than 340 years for our God given rights”(King 3). King’s letter is a response to the clergyman’s accusation; the clergymen accuse him of being an extremist, but King makes it known that he is simply the opposite. King is willing to go to jail and put his life on the line to ... ... middle of paper ... ...was able to inspire King, although both were prominent in different eras. Given that inspiration between Thoreau and King, I believe that yes, both texts are still relevant to the twenty-first century. Their ideas are very powerful and to anyone who is against the corrupt government that still exists today, the twenty first century will be inspired by the powerful messages gifted to us by King and Thoreau. Many people in today 's society still feel victimized by the government and some people in it. The people are still segregated and one day it will end with the help of both of these inspirational human beings. Both texts show how easy it is for an individual to fall into the injustice of the government and lose some of the virtue because of it. In the end, it is your virtue that shows the worth of an individual. A country is only as moral as the people within it.
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