Civil Disobedience and Law

Civil disobedience is refusing to agree or cooperate with the laws that were given. Civil disobedience has been shown throughout history in America through overt and covert resistance Civil Disobedience is to refuse to follow the law, to go against the law peacefully. Henry David Thoreau argues that citizens must disobey the rule of law if those laws prove to be unjust. Martin Luther King Jr. argues that he and his fellow demonstrations have a duty to fight for justice in a nonviolent way. Gandhi led Indians to independence with his non-violent movements. Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues (~George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists). In my opinion, I think people should be able to protest to a certain extent, as long as it is non-violent. If the world disobeyed all civil laws the world would be a chaotic mess. Henry disagreed with the government due to the injustice of individual rights. According to Henry David Thoreau, Individuals are the ultimate source of any governments power. For a practice or law to be just, it must be moral or a natural law to be unjust it must be out of place or does not go together well with the just laws.

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The right way to resist injustice would be if a law is unjust then break it, or go against the laws.If… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. (Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, 1849) Yes because Henry states that any man’s duty to devote themselves to go against laws, to go against it and do not support it. Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? (Henry David Thoreau) Thoreau believed if you disobey the laws then eventually the problem would come to a resolved point but if you dont go against them then they would never be resolved. Long-term effects of Civil Disobedience on society could potentially turn bad if misused only because if one group of people want to get above others and go against the government to get what they want then bad things could happen and it could become more violent than intended.Martin Luther King Jr. believed people should make peaceful and non-violent acts against unjust laws.

Martin Luther King Jr. also believed that the ultimate source of any governments power is the individuals because if the individuals did something then the government may respond to them. He believed that just laws are laws that he would follow. The unjust laws to him were basically no laws at all. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. (Martin Luther King Jr.) To him, any non-violent or non-harming way to protest is a way to resist injustice. Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. believes this because he put his life in jail to go against the law so did many other of his followers to fight for civil rights. If a law is unjust he believes you should go against it to prove a point that it is not right, fair, or equal. Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him would wear a somber face. But I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime. (Martin Luther King Jr.) Martin Luther King Jr. was wanting equality between the colored and the whites and the government would not let them be equal so going against the law shows them that it’s not right and that they cant make them follow the laws. Some effects could be disobedience comes disrespect, If all these colored people protest and go against the law then many of the whites would avoid and treat the colored people less than others.

As this did happen in schools, buses and any place you went. But these were all short-term effects and ended after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964Gandhis non-violent resistance led Indians to independence with his different ways of disobeying the civil law. One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. (Mahatma Gandhi) Gandhi, as well as Henry Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. all, believe that the Individuals are the ultimate source of any governments power. Gandhi believed that the just laws were the laws that were the ones that made it equal to others and made the most sense. He also believed that the unjust laws were the laws that were not good and not meant to be in place, he disobeyed these laws and got put in jail for not following them. He disagrees with the government and believes it should be right to go against them. One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. (Mahatma Gandhi) Gandhi believed that resisting injustice laws with nonviolent ways, it is the most appropriate way to go. As Gandhi did have Resistance Campaign. (Gandhi and the Passive Resistance Campaign 1907-1914. South African History Online, SAHO, 30 July 2013, Gandhi does know that someone must be willing to accept any consequences because his followers know that he is a good leader and he is protesting and getting thrown in jail then they would be able to do it as well. The Indians followed Gandhi, and the result of this was freedom and independence all with protests and speeches against the government.

These speeches did work and they finally had independence. The long-term effects on India’s society led to the Indians having independence all due to disobeying the civil and unjust laws. From then to now India has had independence.The first revolution I chose is the Russian Revolution. The Russian Revolution took place in Russia, between March 8, 1917, to November 7, 1917. The Revolution was between Russia and was led by Vladimir Lenin and involved the collapse of an Empire by Tsar Nicolas II. During this time the working class people went against the government of Tsar Nicolas II. The point of this revolution was to replace Russians monarchy with a new communist state. (SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on The Russian Revolution (1917“1918). SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 4 Dec. 2018.) A Major leading effect that happened on January 22, 1905, large numbers of workers traveled to the Tsar’s palace in order to present a petition for better working conditions. They were fired against by soldiers and many of them were killed or injured. Today we call this the Bloody Sunday. The first Russian Revolution was March 8, 1917, the revolution began when many workers decided to strike. Most of these workers got together during the strike to talk about politics.

Later they began to riot. Tsar Nicholas II ordered the army to contain the riot. However, many of the soldiers refused to fire on the Russian people and the army began to revolt against the Tsar government. The next revolution was the Bolshevik Revolution, One of the main group of the Soviet was a group called the Bolsheviks. They were led by Vladimir Lenin and believed that the new Russian government should be a Communist government. In October of 1917, Lenin then took full control of the government. Russia was now the first communist country in the world. The leaders of the Bolsheviks were Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky. A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution. (Vladimir Lenin)

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Civil Disobedience and Law. (2019, May 05). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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