Is civil disobedience justifiable essay

Democracy Civil Disobedience When should civil disobedience be justified? Civil disobedience is defined as the refusal to obey government laws, in an effort to bring upon a change in governmental policy or legislation.

Is civil disobedience justifiable essay

Table of Contents Context Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher and writer best known for his attacks on American social institutions and his respect for nature and simple living. In addition to Civil DisobedienceThoreau is best known for his book Waldenwhich documents his experiences living alone on Walden Pond in Massachusetts from Throughout his life, Thoreau emphasized the importance of individuality and self-reliance.

He practiced civil disobedience in his own life and spent a night in jail for his refusal to pay taxes in protest of the Mexican War. Thoreau was opposed to the practice of slavery in some of the territories involved.

It is thought that this night in jail prompted Thoreau to write Civil Disobedience.


Thoreau delivered the first draft of the treatise as an oration to the Concord Lyceum inand the text was published in under the title Resistance to Civil Government. By the late s, slavery had driven a wedge in American society, with a growing number of Northerners expressing anti-slavery sentiments.

In addition to this domestic conflict, the Mexican-American War proved a point of much contention: Precipitated by boundary disputes between the United States and Mexico, the war was ultimately fought in order to expand American territory--many Americans felt it was our "Manifest Destiny" to seize all the land we could--and as a result the United States gained much of the present American Southwest, including California, Nevada and Utah.

Thoreau and other opponents of the war argued that the campaign constituted an unnecessary act of aggression and that it was pursued on the basis of arrogance rather than any philosophically justifiable reasons.

Is civil disobedience justifiable essay

Civil Disobedience enjoyed widespread influence, both in the United States and abroad. Later, it lent force to the American Civil Rights Movement.Civil disobedience is justified when its goal is to obtain equal rights and service for everyone, without causing physical damage to people and their property, and .

Hannah Arendt on why civil disobedience is not just justifiable but politically imperative

Civil disobedience is a non-violent and conscientious breach of law that one undertakes to either seek a change in government policy that one finds unjust or to lay claim to rights that one is deprived of. Comparison of Civil Disobedience Essay Words | 15 Pages.

Comparing the Civil Disobedience of Martin Luther King Jr., Henry David Thoreau, and Mohandas Gandhi From the onset of man fighting for freedom or his beliefs, the question has always been whether one person can make a difference using words rather than wars.

1. Definitions.

Sometimes it’s the only tool in the box

The term ‘civil disobedience’ was coined by Henry David Thoreau in his essay to describe his refusal to pay the state poll tax implemented by the American government to prosecute a war in Mexico and to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law.

Arendt’s essay also identifies a second reason why civil disobedience is not just potentially justifiable but politically imperative.

The essay alludes to several aspects of what the social theorist Hartmut Rosa has recently dubbed “social acceleration,” that is, the constant speed-up or acceleration that characterize many core elements of contemporary society.

- Civil Disobedience of Antigone and Mrs.

Is civil disobedience justifiable essay

Hale Civil disobedience is the purposeful violation of a law to show that it is unconstitutional or morally defective. In the plays, Antigone and Trifles, the female main characters commit an act of civil disobedience.

Civil Disobedience (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)