Civil Disobedience By Henry David Thoreau's Letter From A Birmingham Jail

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Today I will be comparing Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau and The Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and taking a closer look at their rhetorical devices and strategy’s. In Civil disobedience by Henry David Thoreau shows us the need to prioritize some one’s wellbeing over what the law says. American laws are criticized mostly over slavery and the Mexican-American war. In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was written in response to a letter written by clergymen criticizing the actions of Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during their protests in Birmingham, Alabama.
The first article I will be analyzing is Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau.
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For one he definitely felt the need that a government that is unjust cannot be a government. He goes on long-winded about how a person should not have to follow a “law” if it is unjust. He himself actually, explains to us in his writing that he was arrested for not paying his taxes. Why? Well because he stood up against a law he thought was unjust. He did this because slavery was not being abolished. This exemplifies his reasoning. It also shows why his argument is logical. He states in his opening paragraph “also I believe—‘That government is best which governs not at all’" he puts meaning to this saying. He is not saying that no government is needed, but better yet that if a government is not governing “just” laws, then it is not governing at all.
My second article that I will be analyzing is the Letter from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although ethos is only once explicitly used in Dr. King’s letter, he successfully builds credibility through the teachings of other well-known historical figures and stakes claims on a moral truth being higher than any local laws and ordinances. In the beginning of his letter, King describes having “the honor of serving as president” of a Christian Leadership Conference that operates in “every southern state.” Aside from this claim, Dr. King does not address himself as being above any of the clergymen that had previously criticized him. Instead, he brings in the thoughts of other well-known figures,
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