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Civil Disobedience the ideas of Thoreau and Dr King

Throughout the history of the United States, there have been many times when citizens have felt the need to revolt against their government. Such cases of revolt took place during the times of Martin Luther King Jr., and Henry David Thoreau. The reasons for these revolts included discrimination against the African-American community and Americans refusing to pay poll taxes to support the Mexican War. These two men used civil disobedience to change peoples ideas and beliefs to stop the injustice brought against them and their nation. Civil Disobedience is defined as refusal to obey civil laws or decrees, which usually takes the form of direct action (Groliers Encyclopedia Online). People practicing civil disobedience break a law because they consider the law unjust. They want to call attention to its injustice, hoping to bring about its withdrawal. Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience in 1849, right after spending a night in the Walden town jail for refusing to pay a poll tax for the Mexican War. He recommended using direct action to create social tension, thus leading to the reform of unjust laws practiced by the government. He voiced civil disobedience as, An expression of the individuals liberty to create change (Thoreau 530). Thoreau felt that the government had established order that resisted reform and change. Action from principle, the perception and performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary(Thoreau, 531). Thoreau refused to pay the poll tax because the money was being used to finance the Mexican War. Not only was Thoreau against the war itself, but the war was over Texas, which was to be used as a slave state. His friend, Staples, offered to pay the tax for him, but to Thoreau, it wasnt paying the tax that he was objecting to, it was how the money would be used. Thoreau felt strongly about paying money toward a war he did not support. He would rather end up ...

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