King vs Thoreau

Topics: Civil disobedience, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 2 (710 words) Published: March 21, 2006
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed civil disobedience, when enacted for the correct reasons, was a useful tool to fight unjust laws. Dr. King gives guidelines and criteria for deciding if a law is just or unjust. The guidelines that I will discuss were created by Dr. King to help him decide whether a law is just or unjust and to then justify his reasoning against objections. If Dr. King, through his guidelines, found a law to be just, he believed that a display of civil disobedience against the law would be wrong. But, if Dr. King found a law to be unjust, then civil disobedience would be correct and morally right. As you can see, Dr. King's guidelines to determine if a law is just or unjust was an integral part of his views on civil disobedience. In fact, his guidelines were the basis of his argument for civil disobedience (King 539). In defining the definition between just and unjust laws, Dr. King first gives his definition of what just and unjust laws are. Dr. King says that a just law is that law that aligns with the moral law or the law of God. On the other hand, an unjust law is that law that is not aligned with the moral law (King 539). King believed that any law that did not agree with the law of God was unjust. For many, the definition of "God's law" has many different meanings, but Dr. King being a Baptist minister, believed the definition of God's law to be any law that does not contradict or undermine the teachings in the Bible. If any law contradicts the Bible, then Dr. King would judge that law to be unjust. During the middle fifties and through the sixties the Civil Rights movement captivated the media's attention and segregation issues were a permanent fixture in the spotlight. Civil disobedience helps democracy as it provides a means to insure that just laws prevail. Democracy, founded on the principle of rule of the majority, cannot always insure that justice and rightness are maintained in the laws which guide it. Injustice can be defined...
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