Henry Thoreau and Martin Luther King both wrote persuasive discussions that oppose many ideals and make a justification of their cause, being both central to their argument. While the similarity is obvious, the two essays, Civil Disobedience by Thoreau and Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. do have some similarities. King tries persuading white, southern clergymen that segregation is an evil, unfair law that ought to defeat by use of agitation of direct protesting. Thoreau, on the other hand, writes to a broader, non-addressed audience, and focuses more on the state itself. He further accepts it at its current state, in regard to the battle with Mexico and the institution of slavery. Thus that a person ought to do as he does and not agree to pay taxes to the state that is in support of such evil customs or practices. While both King and Thoreau triumph in their establishment of a firm perception of what they strongly have faith in, they both are successful in their efforts to persuade through different means. Regarding the manner in which King draws emotional appeal through passionate speech, we also see with Thoreau when he makes apparent that he is devoted in what he stands for. Thus attracting more appeal through being more troubled and concerned instead of being innocently optimistic and hopeful. Nevertheless, similarities weigh against differences as both King and Thoreau give reliability to the moral
Individuals lay the foundation of America. The Founding Fathers of this unique nation broke their allegiance with Great Britain to create an improved governing body. They desired an individual-centered authority as opposed to Britain’s monarchy, which ruled with tyranny. These Founding Fathers experienced a neglectful democratic monarchy that cared little about the ethical treatment of its people. The domineering actions of Britain challenged these historic individuals to form a new cultural identity. This new American identity opposes injustice. Justice stands as an important moral and political concept. A prominent component of justice is liberty, which frees society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's lifestyle. Another
Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, published in 1849, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, published in 1963, have profound similarities while still having underlying differences.
f one followed the similarities of King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," they would notice that King may have been somewhat influenced by Thoreau's essay. The two essays also have many differences that are evident throughout analysis of the two essays that divide individual interpretation of each text. But it is obvious that the overall purpose of these two essays is to persuade the audiences that civil disobedience is necessary if there is social injustice in the government that governs over people.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s essay, “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and Henry David Thoreau essay “Civil Disobedience,” both share their opinions on social injustice and civil disobedience. They both believe that people can protest unfair and unjust laws imposed on them in a civil way. In addition, King and Thoreau are challenging the government with their essays, which they wrote after they got sent to jail. For protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, King spent eleven days in jail; Thoreau spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax. Both King and Thoreau’s essays present similar plans for a resolution. They try to convince their audience that they are doing the right thing by using the three appeals; however, they both approach their arguments differently.
In the dictionary civil disobedience is the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest, but Thoreau and Martin Luther King have their own beliefs to civil disobedience. In Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” he writes about the need to prioritize one’s conscience over the dictates of laws. Martin Luther King uses civil disobedience as something that effectuates change in the government. Both Thoreau and Martin Luther King has similar yet different perspectives on civil disobedience.
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 born and raised in Concord, was a popular student in Harvard. Despite his financial and health deformities he was able to graduate from the university. By 1837 America was facing an economic depression and jobs were not easily available. Thoreau began to write poems and essays of transcendentalism to escape from the development and also to emphasize on nature. Therefore, he spent two years in Walden Pond (Schneider, 2013).
Words are the most compelling drugs used by humanity. In “Resistance to Civil Government” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Thoreau and King showed that if words are used properly in society, they can make a difference. Injustice is a huge deal for both Thoreau and King. They talked about their beliefs and told people to stand up for themselves in the government. If they really want something, they need to speak up, no matter what the consequence will be. Thoreau and King’s beliefs are similar as they both believe men are inherently moral, but have been ruined by society, and a natural state is necessary; and they respected the law and saw the good and bad in the government.
In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. writes about the issue of waiting for justice and God given rights for African Americans, the need for a good faith negotiation quickly, and using the strategy of a non-violent campaign and protest to achieve it all. His initial reasoning for writing these letters was to answer the sincere criticism he had received from a fellow clergymen in hopes to bring about a negotiation of peace. Dr. King hoped to shed light on the reasoning be hide the protesting and explain why the protesting needed to take place and at such an “untimely” time. He also yearned to shed light on the racism that had engulfed the nation and the ugly record of brutality that African Americans had suffered in the past and at that moment currently. His letters brought to light the injustice of the past and persuaded the clergymen to finally grant African Americans the Constitutional rights and the respect they deserved.
Throughout history there have been many political changes that are either supported, or not, by citizens. In the given passage from, "Civil Disobedience," by Thoreau, a perspective of disagreeing with the government ways, is provided. Thoreau explains how a government should be in comparison to how it really is by utilizing his words to set the tone and mode, imagery to achieve his audience's understanding, and diction to make his writing scholarly.
Martin Luther King Jr. could be considered one of the more important historical figures in our county’s history. He was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement which took place during the 1950s and 1960s. His “I Have a Dream” speech spurred the end of segregation in our country and the beginning of equality between blacks and whites. Along with being a leader, he was also a Baptist minister, as well as a husband and a father to two sons and two daughters. Like transcendentalists, Martin Luther King Jr. supported individualism, community, and innovation. However, he supported organized religion while transcendentalists advocated for people to have spirituality without having an organized religion.
Near the beginning of his renowned essay, "Civil Disobedience," Henry David Thoreau appeals to his fellow citizens when he says, "...I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government." This request serves as a starting point from which the rest of "Civil Disobedience" emerges. Thoreau 's essay is particularly compelling because of its incorporation of rhetorical strategies, including the use of logos, ethos, pathos, purposive discourse, rhetorical competence and identification. I will demonstrate how each of these rhetorical techniques benefit Thoreau 's persuasive argument.
Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) is a dissertation written by American abolitionist, author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau published by Elizabeth Peabody in the Aesthetic Papers in 1849. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was born and lived almost his life in Concord, Massachusetts. After finishing public and private school in Concord he attended the prestige Harvard University. He excelled at Harvard despite leaving school for several months due to health and financial setbacks. Mr. Thoreau graduated in the top half of his class in 1837. Mr. Thoreau argues that people should not allow any government to control or atrophy their thoughts or beliefs. Mr. Thoreau was an also remained a devoted abolitionist and has written
The main similarity in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Henry David Thoreau is the idea of revolution against an abusive government. The main difference is the context in which each document was written, the Declaration of Independence as the colonies were rebelling against Great Britain and forming their own government, and Civil Disobedience as criticisms of the government developed within nearly seventy-five years after the signing of the Declaration. Both Jefferson and Thoreau share ideas of revolution, although overthrowing the government is seen in many cases as illegal. Both documents share a common theme of revolution, and both authors believe the best way to move toward a better government is civil disobedience. Jefferson and Thoreau believe that whether it is the struggle for independence or being freed from injustices of the government, civil disobedience and revolution are necessary in order to live in a society based on freedom.