The idea of challenging an unreasonable law is central to both King, Jr.'s and Thoreau's plights, though each have very distinct characteristics unique to themselves. In King, Jr.'s case, he saw segregation and racial discrimination as mistakes on the part of the government and he set out to make substantial changes to the status quo. In doing so, he acted upon Thoreau's concept that every person retains the right to judge civil laws for decency and credibility. "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws," (Birmingham Jail 82). Should one find the law to be in the best interest of each individual as well as society as a whole, he should abide by it and make every effort to live by its standard. But reversely, should the law be found guilty of evil intentions and causing more harm than good, it is the duty of every person under that law to disregard it and make an attempt "to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support," (Disobedience 6).
As both Thoreau and King, Jr. understood, half-hearted attempts at change were not worth the time nor the effort of the persons involved. "Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it... [continues]
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