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Bringing About Changes In Society Essay

1206 words - 5 pages

Bringing About Changes in SocietyThomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. were two American men who were key leaders during very controversial times in U.S. history, and they were instrumental in movements that will continue to influence history for years to come. Jefferson's goal in "The Declaration of Independence" was to force a separation of the colonies from Great Britain and to create a new government in the United States. King's goal in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" was to show that change is necessary and can be facilitated through the breaking of certain laws that are morally wrong or unjust. In "The Declaration of Independence," Jefferson states that the change needed is most likely to come through violent means, while in "Letter from Birmingham Jail," King argues that this change should come through peaceful protest, which would force both sides of the segregation movement to work together. In both "The Declaration of Independence" and "Letter from Birmingham Jail," they argue for change even if it meant breaking the law, though they disagree on how these changes were going to take place and what types of laws they could justify breaking."The Declaration of Independence" implies that the changes would result through war if it became necessary. Jefferson says to "dissolve the political bands" between Great Britain and the colonies (Jefferson 53). Through this separation, Jefferson asks for the formation of a new government that will protect the people from tyranny. He states, "When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security" (Jefferson 54). In contrast, King in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" asks for changes in society and Birmingham through more peaceful means. Actions taken by King and other member of his organization included sit-ins, marches, and boycotts of certain stores and restaurants. King states that "nonviolent 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" (King 217). King intends to create panic within the community to cause tension among everyone in the community. He believes that this tension will force discussions between local government that will end the segregation and race-related problems that he and others in his organization were facing.Both "The Declaration of Independence" and "Letter from Birmingham Jail" want to break the unjust laws which are responsible for the problems that they were fighting against, either violently or peacefully. "The Declaration of Independence" describes an unjust law as something that violates a person's "inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (Jefferson 53). Jefferson says that whenever any law violates these...

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