Civil Disobedience Viewpoints

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“That government is best which governs least” (Thoreau). Civil disobedience continues to be a controversial issue in America. Understanding the two viewpoints on the issue can give better insight into whether the act of breaking the law, when nonviolent, is correct or not. There are many examples of acts of civil disobedience throughout history that we can analyze to conclude whether or not their effects positively or negatively impact a free society.
A very well known leader of civil disobedience is Rosa Parks. Parks refused to give up her bus seat for a white man when there were no seats left available. Due to her disobedience, she was convicted of violating the Jim Crow Laws which enforced racial segregation in the South until 1965.
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His opponents claim that he “threw the secrets he knew up in the air” in an act that was more for his ego than conscience, and hoped that it would have positive effects.
There are also people who are in support of Edward Snowden and believe that in revealing just how much the government had been spying on Americans and others, he has performed a “public service” that by far outweighs any breaching if trust he may have committed (Cassidy). His supporters counter the argument of his actions being dangerous, by claiming that the information he put out didn’t reveal anything about the algorithms that the N.S.A. uses, the groups and individuals targeted, or the identity of U.S. agents. Furthermore, no content of U,S. military plans and conversations between U.S. or foreign officials was revealed.
While it will always be debated whether or not civil disobedience benefits a free society, I believe that there is substantial evidence found throughout U.S. history that it does. There must be a way for citizens of the country to speak out on issues in order to change laws that may be unjust. After all, actions do speak louder than
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