Patriotism and People Who Commit Acts of Civil Disobedience Essay

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Today’s government is more powerful than ever. Between Supreme Court rulings that uphold sovereign immunity to the power of law enforcement to disperse Occupy Wall Street protests, it seems as if the citizens have no right to disobey laws that they know to be unjust. Yet by this measure, the heroes of the past such as the American colonists, abolitionists, women’s suffragists, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Junior, Rosa Parks, and Nelson Mandela would be little more than common criminals. All of these heroes broke the law in the name of a greater justice, and today all of them are revered as being the most patriotic of all people. The attribution of patriotism to people who commit acts of civil disobedience is lawful and just, because…show more content…
This school of thought, also called Aufklarung in its German roots ( Kant) have birth to some of the most influential philosophers of the last Millennium, including John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jacques Rousseau. Their vision for reformative political systems has been key in the evolution of the people’s minds, denouncing the abuses of the Old Regime as to emerge out of the dominance of medieval monarchies. All three of these philosophers formulated political theories based on the idea of the social contract. At that time, the medieval basis for political legitimacy of the divine right of kings was no longer considered viable in philosophical circles. As a result, philosophers sought another basis for explaining the rightful relationship between government and citizens. Rousseau formulated a philosophy based on the social contract, stating that there was a mutual consensual relationship of power between citizens and the state but that the true seat of power was held by the people rather than the rulers (Locke). Both Hobbes and Locke looked to nature as the basis for how social and political systems should be understood (Berlin 94). Hobbes had a rather dim view of the state of nature, believing that people were inherently flawed and would fight and struggle without a strong ruler to form laws and force them to conformity. Despite this dim view, Hobbes
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