This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Civil Disobedience Essay

1415 words - 6 pages

Abstract
Civil disobedience is the term assigned to actions taken by individuals to sway public opinion about laws that individuals deem unfair or unjust. Actions taken are usually nonviolent, and can include sit-ins, mass demonstrations, picket lines, and marches. Citizens are acting on their consciences, demonstrating highly advanced moral reasoning skills. Generally, these advanced skills fall into Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development, Stage Five and Six in particular. Characteristics of civil disobedience include no expression of anger, no cursing or insults, no retaliation, and submission to punishment by law enforcement. Historically, there have been many instances of civil disobedience: women’s suffrage, environmental protests, abolition of slavery, and anti-war movements. Two of interest are the civil rights movement and protests of the Vietnam War. These were nonviolent situations that turned violent when law enforcement officers or military got involved, resulting in murders, beatings, and mass arrests of protestors.

Civil Disobedience
Civil disobedience is the result of individuals not adhering to a particular law as a matter of moral or political principles (Starr, 1998). Individuals of like minds usually form an organized group to protest the law and attempt to sway public opinion about the law in question. The desired outcome is to affect a change of the law in question, based on conscience of the dissenting group. This is something the Bill of Rights identifies as a right of governed peoples; “the authority of government is derived from the consent of the governed, and when any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it” (Bill of Rights, 1791, Amendment XIV). Citizens generally employ nonviolent means of protesting; ie: marches, or sit-ins, but there is a propensity for violence to erupt if police get called to handle the crowd of protestors.
History has recorded the role civil disobedience has played in many social reforms: the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage, abolition of slavery, environmental demonstrations, labor union strikes, and anti-war movements. In each instance, citizens were motivated by deep-seated, conscientious beliefs that laws were wrong; all legal means, ie: lobbying, court appearances, petitioning, and legal protests, but were often ignored by political machinations and powerful individuals. Such was their moral convictions regarding what they experienced or believed to be injustices, individuals were willing to give up personal comfort and safety in order to effect change.
Generally, citizens taking part in civil disobedience employed noncompliance. Noncompliance is not considered as an act of hostility toward police; it is a form of resistance wherein those involved in the protest go “limp”, or become passive. Citizens simply refuse to comply with officer direction, since the foundation for nonviolence is to undergo a risk to one’s...

Find Another Essay On Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience Essay

1690 words - 7 pages Throughout History, there are always laws and rules; however, these rules wouldn’t evolve and progress in a government if it weren’t for civil disobedience. Throughout the course of history, especially in democracies, civil disobedience has been used to change unright laws, and it gives people the freedom to stand for what they believe in. There are countless examples of people who protested and changed the world. In a way, it also lets people

Civil Disobedience Essay

1164 words - 5 pages Civil disobedience this is how the internet defines it “The refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest”. The word explains it all disobeying in a Civil way. Many people have became famous for this for standing up for what they think is right. For example, Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus, you can say that’s an act of civil disobedience she didn’t think it was right for

Civil Disobedience

1719 words - 7 pages All throughout world history, human beings have participated in acts of civil disobedience. However, in the last two centuries the belief and practice of it has been in full swing and has even brought on major historical events, especially concerning equal rights and just laws. Three major firm believers and activists in civil disobedience were Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. All three of these men participated in

Civil Disobedience

1495 words - 6 pages Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience: “Refusal to obey civil laws in an effort to induce change in governmental policy or legislation, characterized by the use of passive resistance or other non-violent means” (Houghton, 2000). Although this definition seems broad enough to cover any aspect of a discussion, there is still much to be said about the subject

Civil Disobedience

1609 words - 6 pages American war. His stance was that these affairs were unjust and immortal and since they were supported and perpetrated by the government, then the government itself was immoral and unjust. Through this concept, Thoreau developed the idea of civil disobedience, the willful and deliberate violation of the law by the individual citizen. (Groiler's Encyclopedia Online 2). Henry Thoreau spent a night in jail after refusing to pay poll taxes, because

Civil Disobedience - 1625 words

1625 words - 7 pages government's attitude towards Martin Luther King, we can safely make the assumption that the government is not always justified in the laws that it creates. Our government's original purpose was to keep order and ensure freedom to its people. As history has shown us, as in the case of African Americans, the government will expand its role and take away liberties of the few. The individual is justified in acting out in civil disobedience when the

Civil Disobedience - 1865 words

1865 words - 7 pages Bill C-250 that many fear will make preaching against homosexuality a hate crime. The morality of civil disobedience is controversial issue among Christians with some believing that obedience is of primary importance, while others feel that promoting justice is a more important Christian duty (Stevick, 1969). Christians must become informed on this issue so that they can act as good citizens in both their country and in the kingdom of heaven (Php. 3

Civil Disobedience - 2282 words

2282 words - 9 pages According to dictionary.com , civil disobedience is defined as "the refusal to obey certain laws or governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy, characterized by the employment of such nonviolent techniques as boycotting, picketing, and non-payment of taxes." Laws are an essential aspect to any functioning society. They are the guidelines to every aspect of life as a member of a community, and of how each

Civil Disobedience - 1526 words

1526 words - 7 pages believed was the most successful? Although, it seems that they may not have too much in common with one another, they definitely do! Gandhi ironically got his ideas of civil disobedience from Thoreau himself. King wanted what any Negro would have wanted and that was freedom for his people, just as Gandhi and Thoreau did for their people. Each of these brave and heroic men changed the world as we know it. As mentioned before, a very important and

Civil Disobedience - 1083 words

1083 words - 4 pages Henry Thoreau's idea on Civil Disobedience was of government that was begin injustice and not having the conscience state of mind. He was a man who respected nature and loved to live the simply life. In the 21st century we can find these same ideas shared by other citizens. The essay in which he writes states facts that some what exists in today's society such as governments and how to handle it; people begin able to be individuals/ self

Civil Disobedience - 3457 words

3457 words - 14 pages Civil Disobedience History, as Karl Marx suggest, is defined by human suffering. When a man is oppressed, his natural recours is rebellion. Most ost restiance movements of the past incorporated violenve. Violence has been a mean to an end for centurys. Even today our lives are chronicled through violence and human suffering. However, a paradox ensues when revolutionaries use violence to free themselves from oppression, as a mean to an end

Similar Essays

Civil Disobedience Essay 929 Words

929 words - 4 pages In the Theory of Justice by John Rawls, he defines civil disobedience,” I shall begin by defining civil disobedience as a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done with the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the government”. Rawls is saying civil disobedience is the refusal to obey certain laws; which are usually motivated by a need to change the policies and laws held by the

Civil Disobedience Essay 1858 Words

1858 words - 7 pages When should civil disobedience be condoned? Should it be condoned? Civil disobedience is defined as the refusal to obey government laws, in an effort to bring upon a change in governmental policy or legislation. Civil disobedience is not an effort to dissolve the American government, because without government our society would result in chaos. Sometimes, when there is an unjust law and the government won't take the initiative to fix it

Civil Disobedience Essay 544 Words

544 words - 2 pages Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience, it has been around sense the time that man first walked on the earth. Some examples of disobedience are, in the Greek play Antigone and there are many more like the Rosa Parks incident and even I have some civil disobedience sometimes but that is the way that human nature works.In the Greek play Antigone, Antigone finds out that here two brothers have killed each other in a war between Thebes and Argos

Civil Disobedience Essay 910 Words

910 words - 4 pages Identify an example in this country of civil disobedience that you feel was justified and explain why? Civil disobedience means, a group's disapproval to abide by the law because they place confidence that the law is corrupt. Civil disobedience is a refusal to obey unjust laws, or in other words, defying the law because you don’t agree with it. Civil disobedience is usually displayed in a peaceful way. Although, if a person commits civil