Philosopher John Locke: A Defense Of Civil Disobedience

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The basic assertion of civil disobedience is that an individual has the responsibility to defy the laws of the state when the law contradicts certain ideals or proposed rights. Philosopher John Locke explored this relationship between the state and the individual and what emerged was that the universe did have natural laws and they often came in conflict with man-made laws. This sense of natural laws was central to the Declaration of Independence, in which Thomas Jefferson insisted that man had a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The suggestion here is that any federal laws are then answerable to a higher authority. Philosophers and citizens alike, past and present, would then describe civil disobedience based in morality, theology, or personal conscience. This concept not only awakened the spirit of civil disobedience, but also led to the idea of how to physically practice civil disobedience in a free society.
Through a simplified view of “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” the document is a defense of civil disobedience
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Gandhi put his ideals of civil disobedience into practice as he resisted the British control of his nation leading the Indian nationalist movement in 1915. Like King, Gandhi believed that civil disobedience required non-violence, but also insisted that the movement was not “passive.” In his writings he developed and spread the theory of “satyagrapha,” which was poised on several important ideas of civil disobedience: truth was always greater than man made law; followers must respect the idea of law even if they break the law; disobedience must be nonviolent; followers must ensure their moral motives for undertaking the practice; followers must fully accept the punishment for their resistance; and followers must be committed to social work. This theory’s quest was to not only change laws, but to remake society for the