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History Of Civil Disobedience

Decent Essays
"It's a free country." This is a phrase we often hear spoken ironically, rebelliously, or even sarcastically. Rarely, though, is it spoken with any real air of gratitude or sincerity. This becomes a problem when one examines the deeper connotations and history of this seemingly innocent phrase. Wars were fought, blood was shed over this handful of words, and yet they are taken for granted. The initial fight for liberty culminated more than 200 years ago, but since then, many amendments to the constitution have been put into place. And that means somebody fought to put them there. The initial constitutional rights were very broad and basic, so during ratification it was pivotal to many states that a Bill of Rights be included before the constitution…show more content…
Whether civil disobedience is justified or not, practicing it is the right of any United States citizen, and a trademark of a free country. The policy of popular sovereignty, or the principal that a government’s authority is based on the allowance of its citizens, was an integral part of nearly every state’s constitution even before the Federal Constitution was put into place. Colonists were fearful that their new government, given too much power, could turn into a tyranny similar to that which they had only just gained their independence from. These fears are still relevant today. But some wonder why civil disobedience would be practiced in a country like ours which upholds democratic ideals and provides legal ways to influence what laws are put into place and what laws are considered outdated or…show more content…
If a law is supported by the majority, what path then does the minority have to protest that law? Legal means are no longer available to them, because they “lost” whatever decision had taken place concerning the bill in question. Some would say that it is never right to take illegal action simply because one disapproves of a law, but a key part of civil disobedience is the fact that those who practice it accept any punishment doled out for the breach of that law. For example, in Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement, the famous protester stood up for what he believed to be right time and time again, even when he was sent to jail multiple times for advocating against many discriminatory laws in South Africa. Eventually he was successful in influencing the government to change several laws, and he’d fought for his success in a way that didn’t harm others (Gandhi 1). His struggle and eventual victory has shown that not all who practice civil disobedience think themselves above the law, when in fact many who practice it will accept the penalty for breaking a law and keep on fighting for what they believe is right (New
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