Compare And Contrast Thoreau And Martin Luther King

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In 1849, Henry David Thoreau’s essay, Resistance to Civil Government was published. In this essay, Thoreau discussed the importance of using civil disobedience in hopes of creating a more civilized government. Around 100 years later, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter to some clergymen about why blacks should have the same civil rights just like everyone else called, Letter from Birmingham Jail. King was greatly influenced by Thoreau and many of King’s ideas were acquired from principles used in Thoreau’s essay. Compare and contrast how these two men were similar and different when it came to their beliefs of civil disobedience. Angry and upset, Thoreau and King thought that the United States government was dealing a great injustice, by not giving every citizen the same rights. Both were so passionate in their beliefs, they were both willing to spend…show more content…
Although their main goals may have been different, they both thought that the United States government needed to be reformed. It can be agreed that the majority always overpowers the minority. King says, “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.” Thoreau states something very similar is his essay when he says, “But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice..." Thoreau and King are both trying to convey that the government cannot pass a law just because the majority rules. They’re saying that most laws are written and enforced by the majority, and if the minority is forced to obey, it is an unjust law. Therefore, they believed that if a law is unjust, a citizen could break the law, if they thought it was right. For instance, Thoreau was arrested for refusing to pay his poll tax, because it funded slavery and the War on Mexico, which he despised, and King’s arrestment for parading around without a permit. Provided, Thoreau gives three means
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