Civil Disobediance Essay

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Tonya Austin American Literature Everest Henry David Thoreau live in a time when most of the country was divided over slavery and the war in Mexico finding them both to be immoral acts of the government. As he was already a huge fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ideas in “Self-Reliance” he was motivated to voice his opinions and make a stance on what he felt was wrong with our government. After refusing to pay “Poll tax” a tax that would finance the Mexican war, he was arrested and spent a night in jail. That experience was his inspiration for writing: “Civil Disobedience” and he used slavery as an example of why he thought it necessary to oppose immoral government actions. (Johnston, 1995-2002) Civil rights for black people was a major political issue in my household when I was a child growing up in Brooklyn and so I can easily relate to his feelings on unjust actions placed upon people by the government. My family and I participated in hundreds of demonstrations across the country in an effort to end segregation and police brutality. We used several forms of civil disobedience but we were still beaten, arrested and hosed down like street garbage as we continued to scream “No justice, no peace” to deaf ears. I was brought back to this time and place after I reading Thoreau’s words “Everyone agrees that unjust laws exists, the question is should we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” My heart was sad then because I just realized how long my family has be fighting for fair treatment in this country and we still suffer even though segregation is no longer a law it is still commonly practiced today. Why is it so easy for the government to divide their people rather than unite them and encourage love and equality instead of hate and separation? (Johnston,

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