Henry David Thoreau 's Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

Henry David Thoreau 's Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

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In Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he cites conscience as a guide to obeying just laws and disobeying unjust laws. In the same way, Henry David Thoreau wrote in his famous essay, “Civil Disobedience,” that people should do what their conscience tells them and refuse to follow unjust laws. The positions of the two writers are very close; they both use a common theme of conscience, and they use a similar rhetorical appeal to ethos.
Henry David Thoreau in his essay “Civil Disobedience” Thoreau asserts that men should react from their conscience. Thoreau believed it was the duty of a person to defy the law if his conscience says that the law is unjust. He believed this even if the law was made by a democratic action. Thoreau wrote that a law is not just, although the majority votes and favors a law. He wrote, “Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not practically decide right and wrong, but conscience?” (Thoreau 306). In this statement Thoreau believes that someone who is subject to the government (a citizen) can never, be forced to defy his conscience -- or else it would mean that ‘conscience’ has no purpose. Henry David Thoreau arguments are significant because he claims that men should act from their conscience. I agree with his argument because i believe that people can be free and happy if there wasn 't an authority dictating what to do. For example, if a young man who just turned eighteen decides not to sign up for the military draft, then that 's his decision upon his liberties and freedoms and not the government 's.
By acting civil yet disobedient you are able to nonviolently protest things you don 't think are fair and this is the tactic that Martin Luther King Jr. used to fight aga...


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... letting the police get away with it. This is an example of injustice to all blacks because police seem to be murdering these innocent people only because of their race. This situation is also similar to the civil rights movement because a lot of people in different states in the United States are in protest to obtain justice for the black men that have been killed by the police. The people in protest are also trying to use King’s tactic of having peaceful protest. Both Thoreau’s and King’s beliefs is about the responsibility of the citizen to act morally in the face of unjust laws. King wants to change the laws because he think think that they are morally wrong and Thoreau wants to change the law because he thinks what 's the point of having individuals with brains who have thoughts of their own if they are not allowed to think for themselves and do what they want.

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