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Civil disobedience: peaceful or passive protest against a governmental body in rebuttal of some immoral policy

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CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: THE SWAYING FORCE October 18, 2005 Student: 2303313 Name: Arlene Allen Prof: Jean Leroux Course: ENG 1100 DD Civil Disobedience: The Swaying Force Civil disobedience: "Refusal to obey civil laws in an effort to induce change in governmental policy or legislation, characterized by the use of passive resistance or other non-violent means" (Houghton, 2000). Although this definition seems broad enough to cover any aspect of a discussion, there is still much to be said about the subject. Martin Luther King wrote a fifty paragraph letter about the timeliness and wisdom in such an action, while Hannah Arendt managed to squeeze her definition into six (extra long) paragraphs regarding Denmark and the Jews. But, regardless of the fact that people relate this topic in many different ways, they always seem to end up with the same basic principles: civil disobedience is the resolve of a just conscience; it is a means through which mountains can be moved quietly and strategically; and if applied correctly, it can permanently alter the course of a single individual or an entire nation. ...read more.


In addition, assistance from a few traitor Nazis who sabotaged orders from Berlin, including a warning of the impending exportation of the Jews from Denmark, greatly improved the Danes' ability to protect their Jewish refugees (Arendt, 2000). Similarly, in the case of Martin Luther King Jr., a great deal of planning and strategy went into each march he undertook against racial segregation. So much so, that his organization had "four basic steps" for engaging in "non-violent campaign[s]" (King, 888-6). The final of these steps, "direct action", was the act itself. Direct action involved plenty of detailed planning pertaining to where the march was to take place, when it was to take place, how it was to take place, and who was to be the target. Most importantly, as in all resistance movements, was the why it was to take place; it was this why that would elicit the most support and incite the most action in the community; it was this why that would stimulate the change that King (as with all such individuals and groups) ...read more.


It is in this tension that the why is clarified and minds are altered, and, ultimately, popular opinion is swayed. This is where the just conscience reaps its satisfaction; it is, indeed, what makes the resistance worthwhile. Formal Outline Civil disobedience is an action which requires a just conscience and a strategic plan whereby, if executed soundly, will eventually sway the beliefs in those the action is taken against, in other words, the oppressors. I. The role of the just conscience A. Withstanding the oppressor 1. Must have a strong sense of justice, moral law B. Take positive, strategic action 1. Passive resistance, refusal to comply 2. Use of legal action by the Danes 3. Clear planning by King, answering why II. Convincing the oppressors A. Means of convincing 1. How the Danes won the support of a few Nazis 2. How King won support from some members of the white race III. The accomplishments of civil disobedience A. The role of positive tension in the success of the act B. The end result of any civil disobedient act should be the satisfaction that a few minds have altered their original course of thinking. ...read more.

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