He lived during the time where segregation was everywhere in the United States, not as a white man, but as an African-American. He wrote the letter during his stay in Birmingham jail after conducting a peaceful march in that city. He led the march in order to attack the city’s segregation system, but instead, he was imprisoned for disturbing the peace. After first stating the purpose of his letter, Dr. King used logos to start his counterargument. When he wrote in the letter, “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham.
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.
But to analyze the whole paper, in some cases I think Dr. King didn’t go far enough about his theses. In the letter he disapproved the statement of white clergymen with an almost appeasing tone. Dr. King noted that he was addressing them in part because the criticism of clergymen was sincere and added that they were men of real good will. However, in the paragraphs that follow, King changes to a language that can depart no doubt about the firm commitment that he introduced to the battle against racial injustice. For this transition Dr. King made a fuzzy statement to persuade them with the ideas of the justice and equality.
Opponents of civil disobedience see it as a threat to democratic society and the forerunner of violence and anarchy. The premise... to disobey a law that they feel is unjust. As martin luther king Jr. , wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, "I submit that an individual who breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law. " Civil disobedience is most justifiable when prior lawful attempts to rectify the situation have failed; and when the acts of civil disobedience are done to force the society to recognize the problem; when performed openly and publicly; and when the actor will accept the punishment. Many proponents urge that civil disobedience be used only in the most extreme cases, arguing that the Constitution provides many opportunities to voice one's grievances without breaking the law.
Martin Luther King Jr. states “Oppressed People cannot remain oppressed forever.” (Cahn, 2009 p. 387) As we have seen throughout history, this is a true statement. Oppression is not something that sits well with any type of person that is under the oppression. To resist the oppression, one must carefully chose those laws that they fill are unjust and oppresses them, and once they are chosen then one can make a stand against the oppression. Oppression is unjust law that limits the power of the people that are oppressed into feeling powerless. The United States fought of the oppression over the colonies in the late 1700’s by first peacefully protesting the unjust taxes waged against them.
Compare and Contrast: "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "Civil Disobedience" Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. both attempt to argue for the rights to disobey authority if there is social injustice. Thoreau analyzes the duty and responsibility of citizens to protest and take action against corrupt laws of the government. Likewise, King conveys to his audience that the laws of the government against blacks are intolerable and that civil disobedience should be used as an instrument of freedom. They both effectively illustrate their philosophy that civil disobedience is a necessity, and the similarities and differences of these two essays are portrayed through their occasion, audience, purpose, speaker, tone, appeals, and rhetorical strategies. The occasion of a persuasive essay can give the reader an understanding of why the author may be persuading the audience about a certain topic.
King knew that sometimes waiting makes things worse and by taking these inequality issues to the court, they would just have to wait even longer. King’s letter that was written in response to “A Call for Unity” states many reasons as to why waiting is not always the best way to get things done. In this article, the religious leaders say “a cause should be pressed in the courts and negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets”, but King knew better than that. He said “we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise”. The white world had promised King and the black world that they would be united.
On Good Friday in 1963, 53 blacks, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched into downtown Birmingham to protest the existing segregation laws. All were arrested. This caused the clergymen of this Southern town to compose a letter appealing to the black population to stop their demonstrations. This letter appeared in the Birmingham Newspaper.
Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail", was written by King in response to a critical "Call For Unity" by a group of white Alabama clergymen in Birmingham. The clergymen were critical of King for meddling in the affairs of their town. King's response was that he had every right to fight injustice in the country that he lived in. Martin Luther King wrote this letter in 1963 from his jail cell. In this letter King proclaims that the laws of the government against blacks are intolerable and that civil disobedience should be used as a tool of freedom.
Racism is used when Mayella, a character in this story, accuses Tom Robinson, a local black man, of rape. Also, the Lynch Mob was an example of racism because they had gone to the jail where they were holding Tom to kill him. Courthouse segregation was another example. The blacks could only sit on the balcony during court hearings. When Tom was accused of rape, this was the most racist point in the book to me.