Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

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Civil Disobedience was written by Henry David Thoreau. The Letter From A Birmingham Jail was written by Martin Luther King Jr. They both had similarities and differences. There were injustices that were done wrong to each of them by others in the society in which they both lived. The injustices and civil disobedience they incurred should never happen to anyone. Henry David Thoreau spoke in an emotional tone in his essay “Civil Disobedience. ” The emotional part of his essay of Civil Disobedience is that he wants the people to speak up about what type of government they would want to have.

Another emotional part was when he started to tell the people to stop paying their taxes so that if the government doesn’t get what they want then maybe they will reform and change their ways. Most of the people are afraid of the government and what the government will do to them and their property if someone disobeys their orders. The government has the right to take their property away from them. The government lets them keep their property if the people listen and obey what they say. The people feel that the government is protecting their rights.

Thoreau want the people to rebel against the government and revolutionize together because they are treated like slaves and subjected to military law. People want a better government but they won’t do anything to correct the situation. They always think someone else will do something but no one ever does so nothing ever changes. It is very hard to change the minds of people who support the government the way it is. Men are afraid it will make things much worse for them if they go against the government even if they know they are right and the government is wrong.

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Thoreau says, “If you think you are right in your opinion then you are the majority and stand up for your rights against the government. Stop giving the government what it wants and maybe the government will reform to what the people want. ” He wants people to stand up for their rights and risk being put in jail. People should join together as one to put an end to the injustices they have had to deal with from the government. People need to elect the right person to make changes in the government. In Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, he makes an ethical appeal to he people because he thinks it is better not to have a government at all and that the American government makes more problems instead of making things better. Although not all is wrong, certain things need changing. The government doesn’t care about the people, it just wants them to do what they tell you to do, like to go to war and serve in the army whether you want to or not and pay taxes to the church whether you attend church or not. If the laws are not obeyed by the people and the people don’t do as the government tells them to do then the government would put you in jail for an undetermined amount of time.

Thoreau thinks the constitution is evil and wants to make things better by petitioning the people because he wants to have a better place to live in. He also is saying that being in jail is better than obeying the government and paying taxes and going to war. When you are in jail you get everything you need like free room and board and three meals a day, but it would all just be a waste of time because nothing would change. People need to stand up for their rights and what they believe in if they want things to change.

Martin Luther King Jr wrote the “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”. In his essay he said many strongly spoken emotional appeals. He tries to appeal to the people about the segregation of black people when he says, “When you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year old daughter why she can’t go the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Fun-town is closed to colored children. ” This quote has a lot of meaning to the colored people.

This is racism and it is wrong and it is an injustice that the colored people had to face and deal with for many, many years. Martin Luther King Jr loves the church and wants the blacks to be included in everything that white people are. He was grateful to one reverend for including the black people in a Sunday service in a non-segregated way because it was the right thing to do. Segregation has been an injustice that many people have had to deal with for too many years. An ethical appeal that Martin Luther King Jr. was arguing about were the injustices that colored people face each day of their lives.

He was arguing about what was right and what was wrong. He wanted people to realize that they were “victims of a broken promise”. They were promised that racial signs would be removed but they were not. He was using a non-violent direct action protest and got arrested for it because the whites kept the black people out of everything. The black people were being segregated and not allowed the same rights and courtesies as the white people. Colored people had a separate bathroom than the white people. Colored people couldn’t sit at the lunch counter or ride in the front of a bus.

Rosa Parks took a stand and protested in a non-violent way. She decided one day to sit in the front of the bus and was arrested. Martin Luther King Jr. says that “non-violent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue”. Negro leaders have tried to speak about these issues with white officials but nothing has changed. This is why Rosa Parks took a stand for what she believed in and also why Martin Luther King Jr. ook a stand for his rights by going on a march from Montgomery to Birmingham, Alabama. Martin Luther King Jr. also states that “A just law is a man-made code that squares with moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law”. In his essay he thanks one Reverend for allowing black people into his church on a non-segregated basis. This was just a small step in their actions to change the way people think because they have suffered these injustices for way too many years. Both Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. ave made excellent points in their essays about the injustices that have been inflicted upon them in their society. They both have had to deal with many injustices and a lot of people whose wrong doings toward them have made their society a bad place in which to live. Each person was seeking ways to make their society a better place to live in, now and in the future. They both hope that people will see that they way they are being treated is wrong and will stand up for what is right instead of going along with what is wrong.

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