Another issue I have with the idea of civil disobedience is the fundamental understanding of America’s social contract. While Americans do have the right to protest according to the Constitution, the majority of the “peaceful” assemblies are not, well, peaceful (more on this later). On top of that, as US citizens, we conform to our social contract, which restricts certain liberties, but provides us the right to live in the United States instead of more corrupt places in the world -- Mexico, North Korea, and Syria come to mind.
In summation, civil disobedience is a tool that has been used to improve our freedoms through the decades. It has allowed for peaceful ways for the people to stand up for something they believe in. As Henry David Thoreau said, “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time, what I think is right.” That is what makes a society free, the ability to disagree with others,
Civil Disobedience is classified as the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest. This idea was brought into focus in the essay “Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience)” by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau’s opinion on the subject was that the government was involved in everyone’s business, trying to make the country better yet they had the opposite effect. His opinion was that there is a need to prioritize one’s conscious over the dictates of law. Though there are many things that Thoreau touches on, the three main issues that he discussed were The Mexican war, slavery, and the taxes that he was protesting against.
When your human rights are being stripped, it is a great way to change society, as we see in Gandhi’s peaceful revolt. However, in many cases it is not necessary. It would do even more damage, especially if there are other, safer and more human ways for addressing concerns. Laws would be threatened as well as American infrastructure and economy. Through this, civil disobedience requires us to examine the situation. It requires intelligent people to sacrifice something for the greater good, and when it is necessary. The people thinking about disobeying must ask the question “is the law I am being pushed under unjust?” before performing the act. As Gandhi once said “An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and
If we take a closer look at civil disobedience, we can better understand what it means, its goals, and its outcomes. Civil disobedience predominantly exists as direct and non-violent government defiance. Instead of voicing an opinion with a vote or a simple conversation, civil disobedience stands up for what is right using an individual’s whole influence. Therefore, some sacrifices regarding the legality of actions are made in order to preserve the integrity of the mission. In other words, why should a protester follow the law that they are trying to alter? That doesn’t make much sense, therefore civil disobedience allows unjust laws to be broken for the greater good. This method is very effective if, for example, a minority is attempting to
According to my text book, civil disobedience is the voluntarily breaking established laws based on one’s moral belief. I strongly believe that civil disobedience is never justified, regardless of the situation. Yes, something might be wrong according to your morals, but laws are in place to prevent chaos. All these events mentioned; war protesters, anti-abortion activist, Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter Movement, Charlottesville, Confederate statues, so on and so forth has created chaos throughout the United States.
In my opinion, in a democracy, Civil Disobedience is not an appropriate weapon in the fight for justice. By definition a democracy is an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights, appropriate is “to take or use (something) especially in a way that is illegal, unfair, etc.”, weapon is “something (such as a skill, idea, or tool) that is used to win a contest or achieve something”, justice is “the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals”, and Civil Disobedience is “the refusal to obey laws as a way of forcing the government to do or change something”. By these definitions, it is never appropriate to use Civil Disobedience to get justice. In a true democracy, if there ever was a problem or something one did not agree with, one could bring it up to a leader and they would have to acknowledge the problem. They would have to do this due to the fact that everyone has equal right in a true democracy. Everyone would have to vote, and get
America was founded on a principle of civil disobedience. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers set forth a powerful precedent. The Declaration said in part, that when institutions of government becomes destructive or abusive of unalienable rights, it is the right of the people to alter it or to abolish it. The history of our nation tells us that civil disobedience is a civic responsibility, and in the alleged words of Thomas Jefferson, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”. From the Boston Tea Party to the Stonewall Riots, the United States Constitution and advances in racial, social, and gender equality support the idea that peaceful resistance positively contributes to a freer society, and a more equitable America.
Though frustration comes to people when feeling as though they are personally attacked by the disobedience of our own nation, our own government, it is still obvious to me that in order to grow as a country, we must change. Therefore, readdressing laws in a civil matter does positively impact a free society. Even with my most recent debate, I found myself certain that the government had a reason for doing what they did. And more than that, they have authority to have done so through the courts as well. I ask myself, if we had followed the same laws (without change), where would this country be today? Protest, debates, and resistance of many kinds have led this country to where we are now, and I myself feel certain that we are still a free
Thomas Jefferson clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Exactly what Jefferson meant by Liberty in this statement was unclear and has been subject of great debate over the years. There is further examination of the use of the word Liberty in the U.S. Constitution. It was stated in Amendment I, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Therefore, by Constitutional law, it is legal to exercise ones right of peaceful civil disobedience. I believe peaceful resistance to laws positively impacts a free society. This is due to the fact that it exercises the rights we are given in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Two documents that run, support, and are the foundation or our nation.
Civil Disobedience is a right that is afforded to all people. When Civil Disobedience is used as a method of getting your point across to the government and law officials it is ok although when things turn violent and get out of control then that is when it is bad. Carl Cohen feels that Civil Disobedience is a method that condones going against authority and promotes violence while Henry Thoreau believe that Civil Disobedience is a great way to draw attention to the wrongs that need to be made right. I believe that everyone should have the right to express themselves without fear of negative response. Recently here in Charlotte NC with the death of Lamont Scott, who was believed to be an unarmed black man killed by a cop, there was Civil
Our forefathers would be disappointed in us today. This country has been built on the sole belief of civil disobedience. The Revolutionary War was the result of civil disobedience against the British government. We disliked the taxes of the British government and longed for something better and in the end the only way to bring about that change was to win the war for our independence. Yet, here we are making our forefathers turn over in their graves and twisting this very idea of civil obedience that they so treasured. John F. Kennedy said it right when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." In today's day we have strayed from the correct use of civil disobedience. At the same time we twist the
Civil Disobedience was one of the fundamental values our nation was founded upon. The only thing that has changed is the "peaceful" aspect, our founders regularly practiced "uncivil" disobedience. Whether it be by dumping tea into the Boston Harbor to protest taxes or openly declaring independence to defend their liberties, they were no strangers to rebellion. Following "Shay's Rebellion" Thomas Jefferson himself famously wrote "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants". If not for our founders resolve our nation would have continued to be oppressed. It takes brave souls standing up in what they believe in to break the chains of persecution.
Civil disobedience is a peaceful form of political protest, it's based off of your opinion and your beliefs. People have used this method to protest for many years to change the government's laws and to bring attention to a situation that they feel is important. In modern time today there are acts of civil disobedience and let me bring your attention to some. After a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, located in Florida. Over a dozen faculty and students were killed in this mass shooting Wednesday Feb. 21, 2018. Some of the surviving teens who survived the shooting mad a young movement of civil disobedience by traveling to Florida's state capitol for protest regarding gun control legislation, in Tallahassee, Fla.
The right to express oneself through acts of Civil Disobedience is one of the unique freedoms that we are afforded as American citizens. Our founding fathers sought for freedom from tyranny, thus laying the foundation for the people's ability to safely protest against perceived or real injustices without fear of harm. Increasingly around the world we see examples of citizens willing to die for this right. Here at home the right to peaceful protest has come under question of late, with many public figures protesting police brutality against African-American citizens. Many feel these protests are disrespectful to the values we hold most dear. Upon further introspection, one may realize that these protests are possible only because of those very same values. Free Speech and the capacity to assemble are some of the most hard-fought freedoms that our founders worked so hard to achieve, In retrospect, it is evident that those freedoms were only provided to white males, as many of the founding fathers were owners of African slaves. Part of the continued conflict we are experiencing today goes back to the long and continued struggle of African-American citizens to access these same freedoms that others have long taken for granted. If it were not for the brave acts of civil disobedience by Rosa Parks, Dr. King, and other brave souls we may not have the modest level of progress we see today. Maybe this new generation of protesters may encourage change that will impact generations to