Martin Luther King Jr.'s On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience

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Civil disobedience is the refusal of one individual to obey certain laws of a government. Civil disobedience was first introduced in the 19th century by Henry David Thoreau. Henry David Thoreau, writer of “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”, was an individual who strived for the idea of an individual’s conscience to be morally based. He believed that the American government was being corrupt in 1849 due to an unnecessary war against Mexico and slavery becoming a necessity. He states his opinion of how Americans have no morality when it comes to the deciding their nations actions. About one hundred years later, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in 1963, a response to Alabama clergymen’s letter. He states his responses…show more content…
approaches his essay as a form to persuade and blame clergymen for not changing anything that is being promised. For example, the clergymen stated “We expressed understanding that honest convictions… but urged that decisions of those courts should in the meantime be peacefully obeyed” (Carpenter, etal.). All eight Alabama clergymen give the impression that they will persuade the government to help them but, do not completely fulfil it. King’s response to the clergymen was, “We realized that we were the victims of a broken promise” (King 2). He describes it as a broken promise because the clergymen keep promising to change the unjust laws although, nothing has been changed. Which leads the black community to protest against the government. The clergymen give the impression that they will help if they simply end the protests. Although, if they stop the protests, the clergymen will simply forget to help and avoid the situation. Which means that the black community must fight for what they truly believe is…show more content…
For instance, Thoreau once mentioned, “Christ answered the Herodians… ‘Show me the tribute-money,’ said he… if you use money which has the image of Caesar on it… if you are men of the State, and gladly enjoy the advantages of Caesar’s government, then pay him back some of his own when he demands it” (Thoreau 8). Thoreau describes how simple an individual can be influenced when it come to money. The government can control everyone by promising that the economy will increase if they do what is wanted by them. The rich become more interested in the money and the poor become interested in having a bit of money and will do anything. They ought to have the majority of deciding the right from the wrong; in order to have a nation that is not corrupt these actions need to disappear. Although, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote hundred of years later, he includes the same approach that Thoreau does but, slightly from a different perspective. King states, “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’... it was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany” (King 4). He references Hitler because Hitler influenced one of the most unforgettable and extremely unforgivable event in the world. And wants the audience to partake the horrendous event; and not let Americans become what was once the Germans. King wants us, the Americans,
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