Compare and Contrast

Topics: Civil disobedience, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 2 (640 words) Published: April 23, 2013
Two men who had a big influence on civil rights were Henry David Thoreau, and Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. They both believed in standing up for what they believed in, and disobeying unjust laws. Although they were disobeying unjust laws, they still were disobeying Laws, which is why both men suffered consequences from the law. Thoreau spent a night in jail for not paying a poll tax, which he didn’t pay because of his opposition to the Mexican –American War. Meanwhile, Dr.MLK was arrested for “marching without a permit”. He was charged with that because the police couldn’t arrest him for anything else. He created a peaceful protest so it was very hard to charge him with anything more than that. Although they didn’t go to jail for the exact same reason, I believe that that they were portraying the same general message. One I idea that they both support is their main belief, which is Disobeying unjust laws. Thoreau simply stated in his “Civil Disobedience” “do not obey unjust laws”, while Dr.MLK said in his “Letter to Birmingham”, “unjust law is a power the majority compel the minority to obey”. These two statements show that the two men thought that some laws were made to be broken, just as Dr.MLK said in his “Letter to Birmingham”, who will willingly accept the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscious of community over its injustice”. Another important idea these two men believed in is that majority rule does not necessarily mean equality. This is portrayed in Thoreau “Civil Disobedience” , when he said “majorities should not decide what is right or wrong, but conscious”, while the same idea was portrayed in Dr.MLK’s “Letter to Birmingham” when he said that “groups tend to be more immoral than individuals”. These Ideas are similar because they both believe that majorities should have power to choose the laws, but the laws must be fair to those who have different beliefs. These are two main points of similarities between Thoreau and Dr.Martin Luther...
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