Civil Disobedience Essay

“One man come in the name of love, one man come and go; one many come to justify, one man to overthrow.” This quote from “Pride (In the Name of Love)” by U2 represents the meaning of civil disobedience: overthrowing an unjust man, or government, with the power of love. Civil disobedience is important in our society because without it, we would still be living under a tyrannical giant, the citizens would be discouraged by the amount of discrimination, and our country would not be as strong and respected as it is today.

First of all, civil disobedience is part of our history of coming out on top with the Revolutionary War. Without civil disobedience, we would most likely still be under the British rule of a tyrant king. The Boston Tea Party is one of the most notable civil disobedience events. American citizens dumped the cargo of British tea ships to boycott the British tea tax laws. The citizens of Massachusetts were not going to stand for the abuse they received from across the Atlantic Ocean. They were going to take charge and become their own country. The Founding Fathers worked extremely hard for the United States of America to become its own nation and they succeeded. Where would we be without civil disobedience?

Second of all, if it had not been for civil disobedience, our country, and many others, would still be ravaged by discrimination by the government. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most famous leaders of civil disobedience in the world. He believed that black and white people should not be separated based on their skin color. King became the ultimate leader with his empowering speeches and nonviolent stance on the situation. He believed in peaceful protests and boycotts—the core meaning of civil disobedience. His most popular speech is the “I Had a Dream” speech where he explains that he has a dream of a country where black and white children could play together, a nation that is one with its people. King was jailed numerous times for his protests but he stayed strong. Even in his death, people were still inspired. The segregation laws were repealed and now we all live as equals among race. We need civil disobedience for reasons like this.

Furthermore, the controversial hero, Harvey Milk, sacrificed his life so that homosexual citizens of the United States could hopefully one day have equal rights. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected into a public office in California. He was elected onto the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He had to try three times before he was elected. Living in the Castro District, a predominantly gay area, he kept the fury of his fellow citizens controlled with his soothing speeches that gave them hope for him. He led civil and nonviolent gay pride parades, protests and boycotts. He was assassinated after serving eleven months in office by a fellow supervisor after a gay rights ordinance was passed. Milk did not die in vain, for his legacy lives on even now with the fight for gay marriage to be legal.

Third of all, without civil disobedience, the United States of America would not be where it is today with the world powers. It was our civil disobedient attitudes and our demand for freedom is what put us on the map. Even though we were not the first country to abolish slavery or have a revolution, our loud-mouth citizens let all the other countries know what we were up to and they were inspired by that. We were not just given the title of a superpower nation, we earned it through nonviolent protests and boycotts. Civil disobedience is extremely important for a country to be strong and successful.

In addition, some people may believe that civil disobedience is wrong because many of the persons who participate in this form of protest are technically breaking laws. These people state that civil disobedience is dangerous, but in reality, they are just scared to push the envelope. They would rather live in misery and unfairness than stand up for what is right. Mohandas Gandhi once said, “Non-cooperation with evil is as much as a duty as cooperation with good.”

In summary, the idea and act of civil disobedience is vital to our country because we would still be stuck under British rule without democracy, we would still be segregated, and the United States would not be considered one of the strongest countries in the world. We need civil disobedience because it helps keeps governments from becoming arrogant and tyrannical. It may seem dangerous at times but civil disobedience is about the few sacrificing for themselves for the many. People like Harvey Milk, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Gandhi are heroes for standing up for what is right and not letting the corrupt government abuse its power.

By Shelbey Horaney for Mrs. Fletke's English 10B Final Exam. 2013/06/02
June 2nd, 2013 at 10:09pm