Table of Contents Summary Thoreau's Civil Disobedience espouses the need to prioritize one's conscience over the dictates of laws. It criticizes American social institutions and policies, most prominently slavery and the Mexican-American War.
See Article History Alternative Title: Civil disobedience has been a major tactic and philosophy of nationalist movements in Africa and India, in the American civil rights movementand of labour, anti-war, and other social 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, feels obligated by a higher, extralegal principle to break some specific law. It is because acts associated with civil disobedience are considered crimes, however, and known by actor and public alike to be punishable, that such acts serve as a protest.
By submitting to punishmentthe civil disobedient hopes to set a moral example that will provoke the majority or the government into effecting meaningful political, social, or economic change.
Under the imperative of setting a moral example, leaders of civil disobedience insist that the illegal actions be nonviolent. Protesters associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement blocking a bridge in Chicago, November A variety of criticisms have been directed against the philosophy and practice of civil disobedience.
The radical critique of the philosophy of civil disobedience condemns its acceptance of the existing political structure; conservative schools of thought, on the other hand, see the logical extension of civil disobedience as anarchy and the right of the individual to break any law he chooses, at any time.
Activists themselves are divided in interpreting civil disobedience either as a total philosophy of social change or as merely a tactic to be employed when the movement lacks other means. On a pragmatic level, the efficacy of civil disobedience hinges on the adherence of the opposition to a certain morality to which an appeal can ultimately be made.
The philosophical roots of civil disobedience lie deep in Western thought: CiceroThomas AquinasJohn LockeThomas Jeffersonand Henry David Thoreau all sought to justify conduct by virtue of its harmony with some antecedent superhuman moral law.
The modern concept of civil disobedience was most clearly formulated by Mohandas Gandhi. Drawing from Eastern and Western thought, Gandhi developed the philosophy of satyagrahawhich centres on nonviolent resistance to evil. First in the Transvaal of South Africa in and later in India, via such actions as the Salt MarchGandhi sought to obtain equal rights and freedom through satyagraha campaigns.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Later the tactics of civil disobedience were employed by a variety of protest groups. African American students left to right: Learn More in these related Britannica articles:Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the "Duty of Submission to Civil Government," resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say that "so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that is, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public .
Civil disobedience is defined as the refusal to obey government laws, in an effort to bring upon a change in governmental policy or legislation. Civil disobedience is not an effort to dissolve the American government, because without .
Civil Disobedience covers several topics, and Thoreau intersperses poetry and social commentary throughout. For purposes of clarity and readability, the essay has been divided into three sections here, though Thoreau himself made no such divisions. King view on civil disobedience is more suitable for this day and age that why people would try to fallow his example if they would have to take up civil disobedience.
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- Henry David Thoreau () was an American philosopher, author, poet, abolitionist, and naturalist. He was famous for his essay, “Civil Disobedience”, and his book, Walden.
He believed in individual conscience and nonviolent acts of political resistance to protest unfair laws. Civil Disobedience.
By Henry David Thoreau. My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with- for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel- and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government.
How shall he ever know well what he is and does as an officer of the government, or.