If no one ever disobeyed what was considered unacceptable, a nation or group would never reconsider their way of life to recognize if they are wrong and correct their mistakes. It is the original thought and action that progresses our world. In other words, disobedience drives social progress. Disobedience, through history, is a valuable human trait in light of the fact that it promoted cultural change, has exposed the unjust, and empowered the inevitably weak.
First off, disobedience can be determined as refusal to comply or disregard of what someone is entitled to. Society comes up with these ideas that become normal in that society. For example, in history, the 13 colonies in the United States were oppressed by them British that ruled over them. In order to stand against taxes, the colonists had to break laws, like when they dumped tea in the harbor. This initiated the movement that freed America from their tyrannical government and that further formed the nation of the United States today.
The Women’s Rights Movement was one of the most important social progressions in the world. From the beginning of time, men always had more rights than women. Auspiciously, America was blessed with some disobedient women who fought for the rights of all women. Susan B. Anthony said,” The day may be approaching when the whole world will recognize woman as the equal of man.” The first woman’s rights convention was in Seneca Falls, New York where the Declaration of Sentiments was created. Rebels like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady formed the National Woman Suffrage Association. That association led to women gaining the right to vote. Without this movement, women would not obtain the rights they have today and without the rebellion against British rule, a highly successful country would never have been formed.
Furthermore, civil disobedience has been the cause for infinite protests, abundant rebellions, countless uprisings, and numerous revolutions and revolts around the globe; in which almost all were due to unjust and unfair governments and their rules. Civil disobedience is seen by many as an expression of an individual’s right to free speech. Today, many social movements have taken action and have exposed unfair governments. For example, the social movement entitled, Black Lives Matter, has brought a lot of awareness to police brutality, the issues of sexual assault and workplace violence or harassment that blacks face today. This is a great example of how disobedience has exposed the unjust and how without it, there would still be social and political injustices for many in society.
Although, some might argue that disobedience cannot be morally justified and could be a threat to people and society. However, disobedience causes society to flourish and realized the injustices it has and allowing society to correct them. Disobedience gave power to many during the Civil Rights movements because it gave them a platform from which to speak and brought attention to the issues they faced as people. For instance, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most respected and remembered leaders during the Civil Rights movement, was given the platform to end racial segregation and discrimination in America and a leading spokesperson for nonviolent methods of achieving social change. The speech he is most famous for, “I Have a Dream”, called not only for Negro rights, but for the rights of all people and, moreover, for friendship and unity among all Americans. The civil disobedience that he had demonstrated was able to change the public’s opinion and allowed them to prove the importance of African American rights. Disobedience allows citizens of a nation to rise up and achieve many of the things that they have considered or feel that is an injustice in society.
Oscar Wilde’s claim that disobedience is a valuable human trait and that it promotes social progress made perfect sense. Without disobedience, America wouldn’t have accomplished so many things. We would have so many national issues if revolutions didn’t take place. America would still be under british rule. Women would only be used for housework and educating children. Women wouldn’t be able to vote. Black lives would not have been given the rights they deserve. There would never be anything new. We would be stuck in the same era. We would never have breakthroughs in science and technology. Society would have never progressed. America is the land of the brave, and it takes bravery to be disobedient and a rebel.
Civil Disobedience, the classic essay by Henry David Thoreau, was first published in 1849 as “Resistance to Civil Government.” The first draft of the piece was delivered by Thoreau a year before, in 1848.
In Civil Disobedience, David Thoreau critiques American policies and social institutions. His focus is primarily on the Mexican-American war and slavery. He also points out that many times, the government can bring more harm than good. Thoreau explains that democracy can’t fix the problem and that government represents the agent of injustice and corruption.
Thoreau wrote about the soldiers that were trained to listen and follow orders. For him, it was ironic to see the soldiers treated as heroes. On the other hand, there were men of many true qualities belittled as unpatriotic and unappreciative individuals.
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