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Why Is Civil Disobedience Wrong

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Civil Disobedience: Righting the Wrong The foundation of civil disobedience is rooted in the concept of moral principal. When existing laws or accepted social behavior are viewed as being unjust, discriminatory or otherwise considered to be morally unfair, many citizens are compelled to take action in an effort to affect change. In 1849 Thoreau wrote about civil disobedience in his work titled On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Thoreau believed that a government with too much control minimizes the ability of the people to exercise their own judgment. He claims, “That government is best which governs least.” He provokes the conscience by encouraging citizens to influence government by standing up for what they believe. Throughout the history…show more content…
Therefore, it brings up the question as to how civil disobedience can be tolerated if it involves ignoring or breaking a law. The foundation of the United States is embedded in laws. The First Amendment provides for the right to assemble, which Thoreau clearly advocates in his essay. “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.” The Boston Tea Party is perhaps among the earliest instances of civil disobedience in American history. In protest of the British tea tax, a group of colonists gained access (trespassed) on the ships in the harbor. Once on the boats, the revolutionaries destroyed the tea cargo by dumping it into the water. The Tea Party was a catalyst which led to the American Revolution and independence from…show more content…
As Henry David Thoreau stated, “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves”, in his essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, The First Amendment provides citizens with the right to assemble and protest an injustice. Expressions of civil disobedience have changed laws and brought attention to injustices which have created divides in this country. It is unimaginable to comprehend what our society would look like without the ability to peacefully protest. These protests have been a “check and balance” for our society. The advancement of this country is the beneficiary of civil disobedience. One man’s idea cannot govern alone. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is
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