Gandhi, King and Mandela: What Made Non-Violence Work?

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Gandhi, King, and Mandela: What Made Non-Violence Work? All through history governments and empires have been overthrown or defeated primarily by the violence of those who oppose them. This violence was usually successful however, there have been several situations, when violence failed, that protesters have had to turn to other methods. Non-violent protesting never seemed to be the right course of action until the ideology of Mohandas Gandhi spread and influenced successful protests across the world. Non-violent methods were successfully used, most notably, by Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. Mohandas Gandhi’s methods not only led to India’s independence from Britain but also had victories over racial discrimination in South Africa. Gandhi saw, upon his return to India from South Africa, that Britain had run India’s people into poverty and subordination. Indians were not allowed to manufacture or own their own salt. This affected the poor population most because of how often they used salt. Gandhi began by writing to the English Governor in India describing his plan to “convert the British people through nonviolence and [to] make them see the wrong they have done to India” (Document 1). He felt that the “British rule [was] a curse”. Even though Gandhi spent a total of 2.338 days in prison, he “did not feel the slightest hesitation in entering the prisoner’s box” (Doc. 7). People followed Gandhi in his protests and many followed him into jail feeling “firm in [their] resolution of passing [their] terms in jail in perfect happiness and peace” (Doc. 7). While he was in jail, Mme. Naidu, an Indian poetess, filled in his position in leading protests. She encouraged the protesters by reiterating that “[they] must not use any violence… [they would] be beaten but [they] must not resist…not even raise a hand to ward off blows” (Doc. 4). The author felt that “the western mind finds it difficult to grasp the idea of nonresistance”, but

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