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Peaceful Resistance To Unjust Research Paper

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Indiscriminate peaceful resistance to laws is harmful to a society. Peaceful resistance to unjust laws, however, is not only good for a society, but fundamental to a free one. If the people put up no resistance to unjust laws, they are merely slaves of the state, without freedom. An unjust law is a law which either violates the natural rights of the people or forces them to act against their conscience. Although a few situations call for armed resistance, as the Declaration of Independence notes, most situations do not and peaceful resistance will almost always further the common good. Peace is the safety and security of a just order. Therefore, peaceful resistance is more than just unarmed resistance. For example, standing on a street and blocking traffic is not a peaceful way to protest, since it jeopardizes the safety of the drivers and protesters. Martin Luther King Jr. describes the best kind of peaceful resistance to unjust laws in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In it, he…show more content…
history and today, citizens have had an excellent way to peacefully resist unjust laws through jury nullification. According to the tradition, a jury may refuse to convict an obviously guilty defendant because the law penalizing him/her is unjust. For example, journalist John Peter Zenger wrote true, but unflattering, things about Governor William Cosby in his newspaper in 1734. Cosby sued Zenger for libel, and the jury acquitted him because the law at the time did not include truth as a defense for libel. The jury correctly saw the law as unjust and peacefully resisted the law by acquitting Zenger. Even today, the power of the jury to nullify continues. For example, in my home state of New Hampshire, a bill is currently in the house which, if passed, would require judges to inform the juries of their right to nullify. This is an excellent bill, and I hope it passes because it informs the jury of the possibility of peaceful resistance, which is extremely
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