Similarities Between Thoreau And Martin Luther King Jr

1449 Words6 Pages

Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. are quite possibly some of the most recognized users of civil disobedience in order to get their points across and or achieve a goal. Both me were very adamant on using peaceful means of protest and are recognized for their view on the power and responsibility of the individual man. Henry David Thoreau’s “peaceable revolution” and Martin Luther King’s nonviolent movement are strikingly similar in their belief of the power of the individual and the usage of civil disobedience to inspire change; however they also had different views on how to go about implementing civil disobedience in order to be successful. In my essay I will break down the key …show more content…

government and the questionable war that was being waged in Mexico. Thoreau argues that the majority of the blame lies on the people in the government for turning their heads to the slaves and war saying politicians are more interested in agriculture and economic gains than they are in civil rights. He goes on to state, “I cannot for an instant recognize as my government that which is the “slave’s” argument also.” Thoreau is making a statement that he no longer views the government as recognizable and thus wont respect anything that benefits it due to the fact that the government wont recognize the injustices of slavery. Once Thoreau no longer recognized the government, he called upon himself and other individuals to actively protest the government through peaceful means. It was to his belief that people couldn’t sit around and vote for justice because that’s just as effective as hoping for justice. If a law was unjust but faced a lengthy process to obliterate it, then Thoreau believed it should be broken and not recognized. In order to make a …show more content…

King knew keeping his movement peaceful would not be an easy task to complete. There was a lot of hate coming from both sides that was just waiting to boil over. Dr. King stresses the importance of patience in his book, “Stride Toward Freedom” when he states, “those committed to nonviolence must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive.” Again and again, Dr. King stressed the only way to bring change was through nonviolence and he used himself as the perfect role model. During the Montgomery bus boycott, King refused the use of armed bodyguards even though his life had been threatened multiple times. He continued to meet violence against him with compassion even stating in his book, “Stride for Freedom”, “evil itself, not the people committing evil should be opposed.” Being the minority, Dr. King knew if his side showed any weakness such as the abandonment of their nonviolent movement, their cause would ultimately be destroyed. When Black Power activists began to reject the nonviolence, King took it upon himself to continue to use himself as an example and pleaded with the people not to give up. In King’s book, “Where Do We Go From Here,” king tries to keep up the hopes for nonviolence by saying, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil.”

Open Document