Civil Disobedience; Not as Simple as Black and White

2132 Words9 Pages
Civil Disobedience; Not as Simple as Black and White Can we really live our lives as Author and Historian, Henry David Thoreau did all those years ago, obeying only the laws we feel to be just laws, and ignoring those we consider unjust? Or should we rally together to get those unjust laws changed like American clergyman and Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King and millions of others did? Is civil disobedience as simple as black and white? If it were as simple as Thoreau made it seem then Mr. King may not have been known for the many things we know him for today. In Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" we learned how Mr. King and his many supporters used the laws and the hatred of others to benefit their cause, a just cause, righting unjust laws without breaking any real laws. In the writing, "On The Duty of Civil Disobedience." by Thoreau, we learned how he felt about the need for a government, such as it was, and how we as law abiding citizens unwittingly become accomplices in the injustices caused by the government. He refers to his night in jail, the reason for it, and how we have an obligation to break unjust laws. The two men have very similar views on the subject of just laws and unjust laws, but each goes about dealing with the problem of injustice differently. "On The Duty of Civil Disobedience" is a writing by Thoreau where he expresses his belief that the less the government does to govern, the better it is. He preferred less involvement from the government, referring to the government as a machine. He felt it was only necessary because the American people needed to feel its presence and hear its din. He believed that his first obligation was not to the government, but to do what he felt was right. To obey a law he was not in agreement with was to go against his conscience. He refused to pay taxes to support the war on

More about Civil Disobedience; Not as Simple as Black and White

Open Document