Disobeying A Law Essay

1113 words - 4 pages

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" while he was incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama. The reason for King being in jail was due to him breaking the law of "parading without a permit" (844). When he wrote this letter, "Birmingham was one of the most rigidly segregated cities in the South, although African Americans made up 40 percent of the population" (Garrow 1). Most laws are put in order to protect a person physically, mentally, or financially, but sometimes they must be disobeyed for the good of the people. Mr. King was more than obligated to break the law of protesting without a permit because the only reason it was enacted was to "preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest" (844). One of the main points of his letter was the discussion of the inhumanity and injustice of segregation. The segregation laws of the sixties are great examples of laws that should be broken for the good of the people. These laws diminished opportunities for people of African-American descent. One should have been obligated to disobey these laws because they were unjust, violated liberty, and didn't allow citizens to function in everyday life. King said, "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. An unjust law should be broken because is defies equity and fairness" (843). Segregation laws were unjust because they told people where they were allowed. Negroes were forbidden to enter amusement parks, businesses, and other public places and events. A Black not being allowed in these places was unjust because he or she was forbidden from going in due solely to the color of their skin. Buildings that blacks were allowed to go in, like movie theaters, had were second-rate seats that were designated for them. This was unfair because the black section of movie theaters were not the seats a person would desire when watching a movie. They were seated on balconies or towards the rear of the theater. The seats on the balcony were so far away from the movie screen, they were known as Nigger Heaven. African-Americans were forced to go to schools where the quality of education was generally lower. The segregated are much less likely to graduate high school and attend college. With a lower standard of education, the children might have lacked the knowledge needed to excel in the world at an older age. Later on in his letter, King says of segregation,All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority, and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. To use the words of Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes an "I-it" relationship for the "I-thou" relationship, and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. So segregation is not...

Find Another Essay On Disobeying a Law

Mahatma Gandhi Essay

1527 words - 6 pages peaceful ways of disobeying British laws. He told Indians to spin cloth for their own clothes instead of buying it from Britain. This helped a lot, as it was less expense for them. For this people admired him beliefs, his kindness to all men, and his simple way of life. He broke a British law, by going on a salt march- that was making their own salt from seawater instead of buying it from the government. His difficulty was

Breaking the Law or Civil Desobedience

2220 words - 9 pages History has spoken. The words of the weak started it. Their actions proved it. Disobeying a law is a crime that the offender should be willing to take the punishment for and let his sacrifice be used as a point to rally around to create a just, moral change. Whenever a law is deemed unjust, there is good reason for breaking it to achieve justice. Civil Disobedience will never be legal and those who employ it should be willing to accept the

should authorities be followed?

667 words - 3 pages are not. Disobeying racial authority or law will not make you a bad patriot, like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and others disobeyed authority but for a good reason. (Albert Einstein).Mrs. Rosa Parks was born on February 4th, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was the first child of James and Leona Edwards. Rosa Louise Parks was nationally recognized as the "mother of the modern day civil rights movement" in America. Later, the family moved to Pine

Bible - epistles

912 words - 4 pages " (Romans 5:13). The law gives upon man restrictions that they must follow and obey. If man breaks this holy code, they are, basically, disobeying God. This disobedience is the nature of sin. "Through the law comes the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). Through this reasoning, Paul sees the law God created as evil. "The law then is 'the power of sin' and release from this demonic power is for Paul as certainty an element in our salvation as is release

Divine Law vs. Law of Man

692 words - 3 pages “People, who start forbidding what God allows, will soon allow what God forbids”(Sophocles, 1355). This quote by Machin is a prime example of the quarrel between the understanding of God’s law versus human law, and how man can be corrupted by attempting altering God’s law. In Antigone by Sophocles, Antigone defies her uncle’s austere orders and buries Polyneices based on her perception that God’s law overpowers man’s law in all circumstances

Civil Disobedience and the Bible

1015 words - 4 pages Civil disobedience is a nonviolent opposition to a law through refusal to comply with it, on grounds of conscience. I understand why somebody might want to oppose the law. Somebody might have their own beliefs on what is right and wrong and they wouldn’t know when they're disobeying. But when you do know what you're doing, if you don’t obey a certain law set forth for you to follow, there most likely will be some kind of consequence for not

Nonconformity in "Cool Hand Luke"

1299 words - 5 pages active role in disobeying and leads to his imamates starting to admire him for his actions. This admiration further fuels his desires to break the norm and authority and it is shown when he blindly decides to accept a bet where he has to eat fifty hard-boiled eggs. His success ensured that Luke has become the new de facto leader and even Dragline respects his actions and authority. With this newfound position, the wardens and officers do not seem

Should Civil Disobedience Be Permitted In A Democracy?

520 words - 2 pages Civil disobedience is the act of disobeying the law on the grounds of political principle without using violence. People decide to use civil disobedience as a means of getting into court in hopes of changing any laws they feel are unconstitutional and unjust. Henry David Thoreau believed "People living in a democracy have the right to disobey any law they believe is unjust." Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We are American citizens. We are not here

Should Civil Disobedience Be Permitted In A Democracy?

520 words - 2 pages Civil disobedience is the act of disobeying the law on the grounds of political principle without using violence. People decide to use civil disobedience as a means of getting into court in hopes of changing any laws they feel are unconstitutional and unjust. Henry David Thoreau believed "People living in a democracy have the right to disobey any law they believe is unjust." Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We are American citizens. We are not here

The Case Against Civil Disobedience

926 words - 4 pages Civil Disobedience is a deliberate violation against the law in order to invoke change against a government policy. Civil disobedience can come in the form of running a red light or j-walking, or in more noticeable methods such as riots. Coined by American author and poet Henry David Thoreau, the term has developed to define the act of disobeying a law one sees as unfit or unjust. Usually the purpose of civil disobedience is to gain public

Plato "crito"

1204 words - 5 pages there may be with such knowledge one is enough. Socrates had his day in court and lost in front of a jury of his peers, so he would consider it cowardice and civil disobedience to escape their justice. Since Socrates is a believer in justice and democracy, he acknowledges that the law must be obeyed and not manipulated for ones personal agenda. Socrates shows immense gratitude to the Athenian legal system even when it favored against him."Ought a

Similar Essays

Being Morally Justified In Disobeying Laws We Consider To Be Immoral

880 words - 4 pages should be morally obliged to disobey any law that we consider to be immoral. There is however a problem with this situation, in so much as it relies on appealing to a set moral code to justify our actions and such a moral code is merely an abstracted system of laws. I believe that we can be morally justified in disobeying laws, which we consider to be immoral and there are several reasons for this. I believe that it is only possible to happily

Higher Law: A Necessity For The Individual And Society

1389 words - 6 pages have more power to justify laws that violate the laws set forth by the gods, who are themselves infallible. By this she states that she does not want to pay the price for disobeying the gods by obeying the unjust laws of one man. By this she implies that she would much rather obey the gods' law and accept the consequences of the unjust law but have a clean conscience at the same time. We see that there is one basic principle in Antigone's stance

A Free Society Must Expect Civil Disobedience

2305 words - 9 pages .               Singer gives two typical arguments in favor of obeying these unjust laws. I will address these arguments one at a time. The first argument says that, "By disobeying [a law] I set an example for others that may lead them to disobey too. The effect may multiply and contribute to a decline in law and order. In an extreme case, it may lead to civil war." (Singer, 297)               I believe that, while this

Thoreau, King, & Goldman On Unjust Laws

1074 words - 4 pages stop the machine” (Thoreau..). Thoreau believes it is essential to break unjust laws when in fact the unjust law makes you an instrument of injustice. Ideals of civil disobedience have highly influenced individuals such as Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi and later Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement. Like Thoreau, King was imprisoned for disobeying an unjust law. In 1963 King wrote a “Letter from Birmingham Jail