Before the risks of civil disobedience can be evaluated, first it must be defined. Merriam Webster’s defines civil disobedience as, Refusal to obey government demands or commands and nonresistance to consequent arrest and punishment. It is used especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing government concessions and has been a major tactic of nationalist movements in Africa and India, of the U.S. Civil rights movement, and of labor and antiwar movements in many countries. Civil disobedience is a symbolic or ritualistic violation of the law, rather than a rejection of the system as a whole. The civil disobedient, finding legitimate avenues of change blocked or nonexistent, sees himself as obligated by a higher, extralegal principle to break some specific law. By submitting to punishment, the civil disobedient hopes to set a moral example that will provoke the majority or the government into effecting meaningful political, social, or economic change. This dictionary definition dose a good job of defining civil disobedience, however it can be explained simply as citizens standing up against what they feel are unjust governmental policies. Proponents of civil disobedience contend that this type of law breaking is a useful tool in persuading government to alter unjust policies without resorting to violence. Actions of civil disobedience are key to the success of a government, if it is to be by the people, for the people. So long as unjust laws exist it is the duty of a civilian population to take steps toward amending them. Henry David Through A proponent of civil disobedience starts off his historic essay on the subject by saying “I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the...
Bibliography: Boston Tea Party Historical Society. (2008). The Full Description of the Events. Boston Tea Party Historical Society.
Dusen, L. H. (1969). Civil disobediance: Deestroyer of democracy. Journal of the American Bar Association, 2.
Thoreau, H. D. (1849). Civil Disobediance.
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