Civil Disobedience Vs Mlk

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Throughout American history, more often than not, our attention is drawn to the more violent attempts at making change. While some of these brutal attempts at liberation have come to be successful, violence is certainly not something we should have to resort to in order to see eye-to-eye. In the past, plenty of leaders have discovered the effect of non-violent protest, disobeying laws to prove a point. Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. are two of plenty people who share this philosophy, though they are greatly credited with paving the way for this mentality. Within their own pieces, “Civil Disobedience” (penned by Thoreau) and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (by MLK), they share many of the same techniques to further prove their …show more content…
Both are trying to point out the civil injustice, and reaching out to condone breaking laws and disobeying authority if something is unjust. They stress the importance of doing what oneself will see as morally right rather than conforming to what the government or the majority will deem as “right”. In general, Thoreau and King have the same general audience, though their targets can be broken up more specifically. Broadly, however, they are each writing to a large audience. Thoreau’s essay addresses U.S. citizens as a whole, going as far as to detail the ways in which the government abuses its people: “Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them?” MLK, on the other hand, seems to have a more concentrated focus. It’s assumed that he is writing directly to those who have imprisoned him, but I believe he also intended for his letter to surface so that people could see the raw emotion he was displaying in the wake of an …show more content…
The goal for the author of a persuasive piece is to sway his audience to consider and accept his viewpoint. They both went about persuasion with different approaches: Thoreau seemingly raised himself to a position of superiority, considering himself enlightened by a clear conscience; while MLK tried to keep himself on the same levels of his readers to show the effects that his abuse would have on a regular man for those who couldn’t empathize with the racism he faced. I think both techniques are useful, but an emotional approach would do better off in modern times — which makes sense, considering MLK’s piece is more recent. I can also tell that MLK took inspiration from Thoreau’s work, evident when analyzing his use of rhetorical strategies such as repetition and elaborations. While these works have many differences within them that pertain to the specific goal of each author’s persuasion, they also share many strategies that are effective in achieving that

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