Civil Disobedience

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Chris Sander
English1AH
Prof. Cannon
30 April 2013
Civil Disobedience
When should civil disobedience be justified? Civil disobedience is defined as the refusal to obey government laws, in an effort to bring upon a change in governmental policy or legislation. Civil disobedience is not an effort to dissolve the American government, because without government our society would result in chaos. Sometimes, when there is an unjust law and the government won't take the initiative to fix it, the public must act as civil disobedient to bring awareness and fix the unjust law. There have been times when citizens have felt the need to revolt against the government because of an issue that is unjust. There were such cases during the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau made such actions to prove their point. Civil disobedience is justified when its goal is to obtain equal rights and service for everyone, without causing physical damage to people and their property, and without breaking the just laws that are already enforced. It should only be practiced when the government fails to uphold justice and fix laws that don't allow everyone the equal rights already given to some. In his essay, "Civil Disobedience" Thoreau wrote in 1849 after spending a night in the Walden town jail for refusing to pay a poll tax that supported the Mexican War. He recommended passive resistance as a form of tension that could lead to reform of unjust laws practiced by the government. He voiced civil disobedience as "An expression of the individual's liberty to create change" (Thoreau ). Thoreau felt that the government had established order that resisted reform and change. "Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary" (Thoreau ). Thoreau refused to pay the poll tax because the money was being used to finance the Mexican War. Not only was Thoreau against the war itself but the war was...
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