Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

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Pages: 4

“Letter from A Birmingham Jail” was written by Martin Luther King Jr. on April 16th, 1963. He wrote this letter during his 13th arrest after fighting for American Civil rights, and shared his thoughts about just and unjust laws during his time period. Henry David Thoreau wrote “Civil Disobedience” to all people to gain knowledge about how the government is not useful and more importantly to concentrate on a person’s conscience over the dictates of laws. Both historical figures are trying to get their point across through different aspects of conscience. Thoreau believed that the government is rarely efficient and that the achievements of America are mostly from the people—that the government gets in the way. King believed a just law is a moral law or the law of god, and that an unjust law is a law that goes against moral beliefs. To him, breaking an unjust law is a citizen’s responsibility. For Martin Luther King Jr., segregation …show more content…
An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” (Letter from a Birmingham jail) King felt that a just law is the law of god and an unjust law is a law that goes against moral beliefs. He felt that breaking a just law is much worse than breaking an unjust law. King writes, “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (Letter from a Birmingham Jail). In that quote, he is relating to the Nazis and how they enforced terrible laws to many different countries. King conveys to his readers that the governments laws against African Americans are unbearable. He is mainly trying to raise awareness and allow freedom for African