Whose Civil Disobedience Inspired MLK: Essay

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The refusal to abide by certain laws or to pay taxes, as a nonviolent form of political protesting, is civil disobedience. These types of protests were very common during the 18th century or the Romanticism period of literature. Many civil disobedience acts powered pieces of literature still known to us today, for instance, “On Civil Disobedience” by Mohandas K. Gandhi, “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr, and “Civil Disobedience,” by Henry David Thoreau. Gandhi, King, and Thoreau all portrayed civil disobedience in a similar way by their social status, protesting unjust laws, and non-violent stance against the government.

Gandhi, King, and Thoreau showed civil disobedience in a similar way by having disobeyed an unjust or unfair law in order to create change. Thoreau was one of many Americans upset with the government during the Mexican War and the decisions of President Polk. Thoreau refused to pay taxes and had to spend one night in prison. He viewed the government as being selfish saying that there were “individuals using the standing government as their tool”, though the government is supposed to be there to better citizens' lives. Since taxes are there to give money to fund the government citizens didn’t want to pay for poor decisions. Gandhi protested the British rule over India by breaking the law that didn’t allow Indians to make and sell salt, as a result, they had to purchase from the British who taxed the salt. He, too, was sent to prison, soon after he used the term “Satyagraha” which was what he used to describe how he sought reform without violence. In order for this to work, he knew that he would have consequences but he also knew that the British needed to know that their rule over India would soon be over. Finally, King was one the most prominent parts of America’s historical fight for racial equality, and all because he stood up against a lack of

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The refusal to abide by certain laws or to pay taxes, as a nonviolent form of political protesting, is civil disobedience. These types of protests were very common during the 18th century or the Romanticism period of literature. Many civil disobedience acts powered pieces of literature still known to us today, for instance, “On Civil Disobedience” by Mohandas K. Gandhi, “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr, and “Civil Disobedience,” by Henry David Thoreau. Gandhi, King, and Thoreau all portrayed civil disobedience in a similar way by their social status, protesting unjust laws, and non-violent stance against the government.

Gandhi, King, and Thoreau showed civil disobedience in a similar way by having disobeyed an unjust or unfair law in order to create change. Thoreau was one of many Americans upset with the government during the Mexican War and the decisions of President Polk. Thoreau refused to pay taxes and had to spend one night in prison. He viewed the government as being selfish saying that there were “individuals using the standing government as their tool”, though the government is supposed to be there to better citizens' lives. Since taxes are there to give money to fund the government citizens didn’t want to pay for poor decisions. Gandhi protested the British rule over India by breaking the law that didn’t allow Indians to make and sell salt, as a result, they had to purchase from the British who taxed the salt. He, too, was sent to prison, soon after he used the term “Satyagraha” which was what he used to describe how he sought reform without violence. In order for this to work, he knew that he would have consequences but he also knew that the British needed to know that their rule over India would soon be over. Finally, King was one the most prominent parts of America’s historical fight for racial equality, and all because he stood up against a lack of civil rights that African Americans received, and he was arrested. He wanted changes for future generations explaining how the “fore-parents labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king, and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of brutal injustice and shameful humiliation”. Even though slavery was illegal most people still saw African Americans as lesser and the calvary allowed this to happen without punishment. These writers were protesting against rules that were unjust and unfair to all that were affected by them.

Gandhi, King, and Thoreau all showed civil disobedience in a similar way by all being normal citizens who wanted to make a change in the world they lived in. First came Thoreau, he wanted to change the government so that it was fair for everyone. Thoreau had brought up how he, a normal man wanted to make a change when he said: “to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men”. He believed that the government would not change unless someone took a stand, someone who is primarily affected by the government, that would be a citizen. Thoreau’s actions lead others to begin to make changes and stand up for what was right, such as Gandhi one of the Indian citizens that were struggling under British rule. Gandhi decided to go against the British without caring about the punishment received. After being arrested he stood strong for his country and wrote “you will have to ask our opinion about the laws that concern us”, meaning that Britain can no longer control what they can or can not do. Similar to Gandhi, King wanted to change the world he was living in, which was a world full of racial inequality. King himself being African American was exposed to this inequality from a young age along with millions of others just like him, but the difference between everyone else and King was that he stood up to change it. Protesting led to his incarceration and to his writing that “If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail”. He knew that there was going to be a change and that his life goal was to help make that change no matter what. Overall, all three writers were citizens who wanted to see a change in the world, so they took a stand.

Civil Disobedience is similarly shown by Gandhi, King, and Thoreau through non-violent protest being performed. Thoreau simply refused to pay taxes to protest against the government and even after being arrested he didn’t react violently. He knew that no change would come from violently acting out, but to protesting against a major part of the government. Then Gandhi used Thoreau’s actions to form an act of protest the satyagraha or truth-force, hence he decided to go and create his own salt to protest. He explains how there is no need“ to break another’s head; he may merely have his own head broken”, thus Gandhi showed how there was no need to be violent towards the opposer as long as you’re prepared to undertake any punishment. Similar to Gandhi and Thoreau, King protested non-violently against racial inequality, which lead to his incarceration. Following his release, he spoke in front of the country and even said: “I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek”. All of King’s efforts were there to reflect the nonviolent future he wanted for America. To conclude Gandhi, King, and Thoreau showed civil disobedience in a similar way through non-violent protest.

In conclusion, Gandhi, King, and Thoreau all portrayed civil disobedience in a similar way by their social status, protesting unjust laws, and non-violent stance against the government. All of them are normal citizens who just wanted to change how their world was, for instance, in the case of Thoreau he changed the way people show the government’s actions by refusing to pay taxes. The laws they broke were unjust towards those affected by them, for example, the British salt law that Gandhi had protested. Finally, their non-violent protests whether it be a refusal to pay taxes or protesting in a major city. Their efforts made a difference in the world with

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Whose Civil Disobedience Inspired MLK: Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/whose-civil-disobedience-inspired-mlk-essay/
“Whose Civil Disobedience Inspired MLK: Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/whose-civil-disobedience-inspired-mlk-essay/
Whose Civil Disobedience Inspired MLK: Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/whose-civil-disobedience-inspired-mlk-essay/> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Whose Civil Disobedience Inspired MLK: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/whose-civil-disobedience-inspired-mlk-essay/
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