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Transcendentalism Essay

806 words - 4 pages

According to transcendentalism, the obligations of an individual to society are to defy unjust laws with civil disobedience. This thought of defying laws with civil disobedience became popular in the 50’s and 60’s but was theorized back in the early 19th century. The first transcendentalist to discuss this concept was Henry David Thoreau. He created the concept of fighting with peace instead of arms.
The most recent transcendentalist, Martin Luther King Jr., tells us that civil disobedience is the most right way to deal with unjust laws. “… One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” Mr. King is confessing that everyone has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws but transcendentalism illustrates how to do so in a peaceful non-violent way that will gain the respect of others (King). Morals are the basis of responsibility and a person’s moral compass is already calibrated to the right direction of what is right and what is wrong. Consciously, “One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with the willingness to accept penalty.”(King) Willing to receive punishment for what he believed in said a lot about his character but how he responded to such punishment really exhibited that he is a transcend list and not an average Joe. MLK JR not only popularized the idea of transcendentalism but showed the American people that not all wars are won with deadly weapons.
Transcendentalism is not reserved to just the US but exists all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi, originating from India, initiated a revolution in India by forcing out the British through the practice of peaceful non-conformity. Gandhi touched those around him through his willingness to receive punishment for what he believes is morally right. Portraying independence and leadership coincide each other though presenting that both of those brings the attraction of others. Power comes in numbers and that is what Gandhi employed on the British in India. Gandhi once stated “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”(Gandhi) By replacing animals with humans one realizes that the same is true and by resisting with civil disobedience ones government will show morally its authentic nature. Britain showed its true colors when they dealt with Gandhi in their forceful response to such peaceful protest. “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”(Gandhi) By the British reacting with violence and...

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