For the United States, the mid-nineteenth century is a time when social activism in American society is reflected in the writing. These writers were determined to change the way of life, if not for themselves, for someone else. Their writings would become incite to some of the deepest issues of the time. First, social activism in America is seen in the efforts of women to gain legal and social equality as citizens and as human beings in their private lives. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wanted to change the rights of the female population. In her Declaration of Sentiments, she wrote of the many faults in society and government that considered men were the superior to women. Sijourner Truth declared she too was a woman, in her writing, Ar’nt I …show more content…
Thoreau refused to support the war with Mexico and in protest he refused to pay a tax, which is deemed illegal by the government. He believed the war to be unjust and stated that even though a law is a law it might not always be lawful. Sometimes we must do what we think is right in our own morality regardless of the …show more content…
President Abraham Lincoln had many important documents one of them with was his, Address at the Dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The Gettysburg Address was a point made by the President to not only preserve the Union, but to create equality for all, which would lead to the disbandment of slavery. In Lydia Maria Child’s, Reply to Margaretta Mason, she also spoke of equality. She questioned why the treatments and laws for a person of color were so different from their white counterpart, especially when referencing the master and slave relationship. William Cushing, was also a firm believer in the fair treatment of all. In his work of, Slavery Inconsistent with Our Conduct and Constitution, he describes that every person who is under our government has the obligation to their basic human rights and that slavery does not fall within the lines of the Constitution. Finally, the works of Frederick Douglass come to mind. Douglass, being a former slave, has the most knowledge of that topic with his personal accounts in, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. He painted the picture of just how hard it was growing up a black child of the Confederate South. He was not allowed to know his own birthday as the white children were. He had to sneak and avert things as well people just to become educated. He
Abraham Lincoln constantly changed his opinions and views on slavery and equality. “Unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once stand up for declaring that all men are created equal”(Document A). This is one of his many statements at a speech in Chicago, IL, July 1858. He clearly states that he is in favor of equality and that he believes that not one man should be named superior rather than another. But just two months later, he remarks, in a debate with Stephen A. Douglas
It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right." (Jacobus, 306). He argues that it is up to each and every individual to stand up for their own rights and know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. As said by Thoreau, by committing acts of civil disobedience or peaceful protests, citizens of the nations are able to have their voice to speak up against the wrongdoings of their own government. They bring attention to the more important issues at hand and allow opinions to be formed, and can thus spark change in society.
America has always been defined by its political freedom and expressiveness, at the cost of intranational conflict. During the 1800s, The United States was in a constant state of political disagreement. The north and south fought on several topics, mainly the expansion of slavery. However, these arguments were about more than just slavery. They were arguing not only slavery, but the ideals and specific principles that America has been based upon since the foundation of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
Lincoln has often been referred to as the great slave emancipator, and his role in establishing the emancipation of African American’s has been looked to as one of his greatest achievements. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st 1863 and declared that ‘all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free’. This can be seen as the first executive order issued regarding the establishment of African American’s as citizens of the United States. Lincoln can therefore be seen as vital to the emancipation of African Americans. However, it can be argued that to an extent, Lincoln was forced into issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, by the actions of African American slaves who actively pursued their freedom.
Thoreau 's views on the government by comparing the government to a machine. He states, ”When the machine was producing injustice, it was the duty of conscientious citizens to be ‘a counter friction’ (i.e., a resistance) "to stop the machine.” The two major issues being debated in the United States during his life was slavery and the Mexican-American War in which were major reasons he wrote his essays. In the mid to late 1840’s slavery has been indoctrinated into American society in which caused rifts between Americans.
With the rise of social media it is common for people to explain their beliefs on the internet rather than taking action. Thoreau was very passionate about his right to fight for what he believed in. He thought that for the country to operate efficiently there always needs to be an irritation in the system. In “Civil Disobedience” Thoreau writes, “All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil (Thoreau, 4).” Basically Thoreau believes that our country works best with civil disobedience because it provides a “friction” in the system that can outweigh the unjust laws.
He also believes that a person should distance themselves from government, especially if it is unjust and should refuse to follow such institutions that go against one’s beliefs of doing wrong acts. Although Thoreau affirms we should rebel against what is wrong, we should also be peaceful when doing it like he does, for example, and not participate in passive waiting for something that may be deemed as unjust to change. Do what justice requires no matter what but always be aware of the consequences and do not do unjustly acts when refusing
Another famous essay Thoreau’s is Civil Disobedience. Civil Disobedience was published in 1849. In this essay he talks about his belief on how individuals shouldn’t blindly follow the government if they thought the rules and laws are unjust. This was partly motivated by Thoreau’s hatred towards slavery and the government support of it. Thoreau thought we would be better without the government as he mentions in the first paragraph of Civil Disobedience, “that government is the best which governs not at all.”
Thoreau was the first one to be credited for being the first one to use the word civil disobedience. Civil disobedience meaning the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines,as peaceful form of political protest. In shorter terms it’s when someone doesn’t agree with the government and decides to act against it. Someone who practiced an act of civil disobedience was Anne Hutchinson. She didn’t agree with the minister making salvation dependent on an individual’s good work.
He objected the injustices of war and slavery, and practiced civil disobedience in his daily life. In the time of Thoreau writing Civil Disobedience, many people believed revolution against the government had not been necessary since the time of the American Revolution. However, Thoreau believes that resisting an abusive government is especially important at this point in time considering that, "a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law." According to Thoreau, it is the duty of American citizens to promptly revolutionize against slavery and the Mexican-American War, which have both been supported by the corrupted American
He refused to pay a government issued poll-tax for the Mexican-American war because it did not sync up with his beliefs (Thoreau). McCandless did not think that the government had any right to interfere with his personal needs. This further exemplifies McCandless’s ideal life of rebelling rather than
1. What was his position on the Mexican War? Thoreau thinks that the war is dumb. He states that, “hundred thousand merchants and farmers here, who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity.” He is saying that people would rather farm food than fight in a war.
He also explains that we, as American citizens, not only have the right, but the duty to rebel against the government. However, because of the enslavement of about one-sixth of the population and with the invasion of Mexico, he speaks about not letting it continue any longer and to stop the unjust of it all. Thoreau furthermore exclaims in his essays that the Americans citizens should have followed what power they thought was right, like their conscience, instead of the wrong of the government. Thoreau ultimately sent the message that if following what was right and following your heart really believes in like the right of doing right; then let it be and so live life in spite of what one thinks.
Abraham Lincoln in the speech, The Gettysburg Address, constructs a point of achieving a "just and lasting peace" between the North and South without retribution. Lincoln supports his assertion by justifying his beliefs of unity between the states. Lincoln's purpose is to influence the people to not allow what has been done to go to waste. He wants his audience to realize that this division will only persist if no one settles the current issues in society. Lincoln speaks in a sympathizing, determined tone to address the Americans who are mourning the loss of their loved ones and to the rest of Americans who he wants to see a change from.
Introduction In this research, the participation of political activism is analyzed, so is the history and evolution. The individuals that may have influenced the movements that have taken place. Such as; Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko just to name a few. Comparisons made from the types of ways that political activism has participated.