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. King and Thoreau both use ethos to make their arguments seem credible. At the beginning of “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” King announces he is “president of the Southern …show more content…
King writes to the eight clergymen who were critical of his protests and to the indifferent people of the United States. In the essay, he claims that he has done nothing wrong by protesting peacefully. In paragraph 11, King says “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He is saying that freedom is something they have to fight for because the authorities will not give it to them. He is directing this statement at the clergymen while reaching the apathetic people of the United States. However, Thoreau writes to the common American people because they are directly affected by the government. He is trying to connect with the people willing to take a stand and speak out against the government with him. Also, he is writing to the people who oppose the Mexican war and slavery. Regardless of who King and Thoreau were writing too, they both delivered their arguments in an effective
Civil Disobedience Compare and Contrast 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.
While in solitary confinement for nearly 8 days, reverend and social justice activist, Martin Luther King Jr., wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail in response to the criticism he received for his non-violent protests. Several clergy who negatively critiqued King’s approach of seeking justice, wrote A Call for Unity, arguing that his protests were senseless and improper. Within the article, the clergymen provide nine different critiques that asserted how King’s protest are invalid, uneffective, and simply unintelligent in the fight for obtaining justice and equity for individuals of color. His letter has become one of the most profound pieces of literature of the 20th century, as King uses vivid examples and eloquent rhetorical devices to counter all nine arguments.
In my opinion Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. have very similar purposes in their writings. Both author 's are writing to protest unfair laws. But they also have very different audiences. In Civil Disobediance, Thoreau writes how those who break unjust laws should suffer the consequences as a protest to the laws.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, King uses multiple devices of persuasive rhetoric in order to fight injustice. King, a reverend, was a large advocate for civil rights in midst of the great movement calling for equality among all men and women. His letter is widely renowned for King’s proclamation that “in any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of facts to determine whether injustice exists, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action” (par. 6). His usage of tone and carefully placed anaphora aid King in this persuasive essay by further providing insight and evidence that support King’s four points. From Critical Thinking to Argument defines tone as “attitude towards self, topic, and
In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was sent to jail because of a peaceful protest, protesting treatments of blacks in Birmingham. Before the protest a court ordered that protests couldn’t be held in Birmingham. While being held in Birmingham, King wrote what came to be known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Not even King himself could predict how much of an impact this letter would have on the Civil Rights Movement. In the letter kind defended Kings beliefs on Nonviolent Protests, King also counters the accusations of him breaking laws by categorizing segregation laws into just and unjust laws. King uses this principle to help persuade others to join him in his acts of civil disobedience.
A Letter From Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King Jr. is a name that will never be forgotten, and that will go down in the books for all of time. He was foremost a civil rights activist throughout the 1950s and 1960s. during his lifetime, which lasted from January of 1929 to April of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and a social activist and was known for his non- violent protests. He believed that all people, no matter the color, have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and to take a direct action rather than waiting forever for justice to come through and finally be resolved. In the Spring of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stated in a speech that Birmingham was among one of the most segregated cities in the world.
Civil Disobedience Martin Luther King once stated in "The Letter from Birmingham Jail", "Any individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment to arouse the conscience of the community over it injustice is in reality, expressing the highest respect for the law" (King 411). King meant that, if anyone feels a law is unjust and needed to expose its injustice, should willingly accept any penalty that comes in their way to help arouse people 's conscience in changing that law. In “The Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King explains the four powerful steps of the nonviolent campaign he used to protest against racial injustice for African-Americans
People could portray anything in different ways. Thoreau and King both have differences in portraying civil disobedience. In Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” he begins writing about how the government rarely shows how powerful it is and instead acquires power from the people. King used civil disobedience as a means of effectuating government change and used his courage to protest against discrimination through the act of civil disobedience.
Martin Luther King, Jr. attempts to persuade clergymen to follow in his civil rights movement through exhibiting his knowledge over just and unjust laws, displaying peaceful behavior, and empathetic diction. King was very knowledgeable about laws and his right as a human. King stated laws in his letter to the clergymen, which displayed his credibility. He did not only state laws, he also stated just and unjust laws. King stated, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”
In the text he says, "I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. As you can see King expresses his feeling of the negro sit-inners and demonstrators not given the verdict of being the "real heroes" of the south which they were king also give off a slight glance of angry towards this as well. As well as fur Roosevelt he too give off a tone of noble and a slightness of anger. In the Four Freedom speech he says things like, " it 's not probable
In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King defends the protestors’ thirst for justice by demonstrating the unjust society they live in. Over fifty years after the letter was written, it is still read today. Often times it gives people a sense of identity. However this letter gives me more than an identity. This letter gives me reason and motivation to always fight for a just society.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter from his jail cell in Birmingham after he was imprisoned during a march for civil rights. This letter was in response to one written by church leaders in Birmingham condemning the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and his compatriots. They felt the march was “unwise and untimely” and expressed a belief that the problems he was protesting were better fought through the court system. Overall, Dr. King spoke about the necessity and process of non- violent direct action, just and unjust laws, and of his disappointment in the actions of the white moderate. He argued with the words and logic of a well-educated gentlemen to counteract the church’s argument which appealed to white moderates.
Response to “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. In Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, he responded to statements written in a Birmingham newspaper that criticized his actions in the city. He undermined these disapprovals by explaining his belief in nonviolent direct action. King also went on to give opinions on other topics, such as, the lack of support from white moderates and white churches. He used technique and structure to develop his ideas and justify his methods.
Martin Luther King Jr once stated, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” in his Letter from Birmingham Jail in 1963. He was invoking the principle of civil disobedience. He wasn't justifying breaking laws just because, but instead, meant that you break the law and accept your punishment, in hopes that people will come to see that the law is unethical. Civil disobedience plays an important role in how our society has been shaped up until this point.
Civil rights leader and social activist Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a world renown correspondence, Letter From Birmingham Jail, in April of 1963, during a time when segregation was at it’s peak in the South. When King was making his mark in American history, the United States was experiencing great social unrest due to the injustice towards their colored citizens, which would lead to social rights rallies and unnecessary violence. In response to King’s peaceful protesting, the white community viewed “[his] nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist,” and subsequently imprisoned the pastor (para 27). King specifically wrote to the white clergymen who had earlier addressed a letter to him as to why he was apprehended, in which they argued that his actions were untimely and unconstitutional. In response, King emphasized that justice is never timely, and the refusal to acknowledge equal rights was inhumane and regressive.