Civil Disobedience Martin Luther King And Thoreau Analysis

Decent Essays
When a government overwhelms its people, it is a citizen’s responsibility to be conscience of corruption and refusing unjust laws. In the articles “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau and “Letters from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr., a person must acknowledge if a poor government has created unfair laws and call their people to take a stand against it. King tries to define what a just law is and has a similar position with Thoreau. He believed that America was being unfair for all people while Thoreau believed that it is too powerful for individuals. Their two essays are similar, but are able to compare and contrast each other by their ways of disobeying laws, its role of conscience, and its morality. Laws are created for a government, but …show more content…
In order to find the root of a problem, it is necessary to have a mindset of awareness; critical thinking. Throeau explains that an individual “should be men first and subject afterwards” (306). He means that people must think as individuals rather than blind followers of the law. Having a conscience and independent and be able to recognize faults is far more valuable than being obedient and ignorant. Once a person finds an unjust law and breaks it, they must “accept the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice…” (King 384). Being punished for a crime, despite being morally innocent, is important for one’s own sense of justice. It is better to receive a punishment than to admit lies that one has not done, otherwise there is no point; therefore, hypocrisy. Thoreau argues that it is important for a person to be aware of unjust laws by thinking for one’s self, and King states that a person must be ready to accept punishment. A person must not blindly obey a law simply because it is from their government, and they must be willing to receive the punishment that is

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