Letter From Birmingham Jail Analysis

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No one believed more in the capability of a single man then Martin Luther King Jr and Henry David Thoreau did. Martin Luther King was a minister and activist leader in the African American Civil Rights Movement. He was born January 15, 1929 and later assassinated in April 4, 1968 due to the fact that he fought for civil rights. Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, abolitionist, and development critic who was born July 12, 1817. Although King and Thoreau were born in different centuries they both had similar views toward civil disobedience which were expressed in their essays; “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849)” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, they favor the role of the individual because they believe one man is capable …show more content…

King is respectful toward the government due to his professional background, unlike Thoreau who is frustrated and extremely critical toward the government. Since King is a highly educated minister he chooses to address his concern toward segregation in a sophisticated matter. King directly addresses his letter to the clergymen due to his concerns, on the other hand Thoreau addresses all U.S citizens who want social justice. Even though King also wants justice he still defends his organization which is the Southern Christian leadership Conference. King is serene and stays true to his position by being respectful toward the issue of the social injustice he is living. To demonstrate and insist his thoughts and concerns King uses biblical allusions and historical illusions, he quotes Saint Augustin and mentions Reinhold Niebuhr. For example, King mentions Niebuhr to express his deliberation, “ .. as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals” (King 3). King believes that groups are immoral because they have enough confidence to conduct what they want even if it is awry because they are not unaided, they have copious voices due to the amount of people they incorporate. Although King is not content with the way segregation is being managed he remains respectful and hopes for individuals to take a stand and perform …show more content…

Thoreau believes “that government is best which governs least” and “that government is best which governs not at all” (Thoreau 1). Thoreau has exceptionally low expectations toward the government, he does not believe in the government because “they have persuaded the majority to alter them” (Thoreau 1).Just like the armies also viewed as machines are programmed to function, the government has also managed to have their citizens alter them. Thoreau criticizes they way the government manages their issues because the government's remedy to issues is worst than the evil, they claim to take care of an issue but in reality they make it worst which expands to the issue that government is not capable of being equitable because it is filled with unjust individual who are brainwashed to do the task they are programmed to do. Individuals usually pursue the crowd, but Thoreau desires that one individual will wrangle to bring change to society. This differs from King’s belief because although the church has led him down copious times he still has high hopes that one day the church will support him for fighting civil rights against the

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