The History of Civil Disobedience Research Paper by scribbler

The History of Civil Disobedience
A look at the origins of civil disobedience and its influence over history.
# 151937 | 1,952 words | 6 sources | APA | 2012 | US

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This paper examines how civil disobedience has existed throughout history and has proven to be an effective method of addressing grievances that otherwise would remain allowing those subjected to the injustice to perhaps become violent over time.The paper examines its origins with Socrates and the philosophy and use of the concept by Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King and Van Dusen.

From the Paper:

"Massive protests in the 1960's began with the civil rights movement, lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a good example of large segments of a population using civil disobedience within an existing democracy to create change. Sitting in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama, King writes a letter that defines his position and beliefs along with his methods. He discussed the process developed as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) regarding direct action in Birmingham. (1) Workshops were held to train and prepare the group for direct action in, what King termed, "self-purification". (2) Within this self-purification process were issues of application, accepting blows without retaliation and enduring jail. (2) The goal was nonviolent direct action because negotiation had failed and the plan was to create a situation where Birmingham's leaders would be forced to face the crisis. (2) The entire process of the civil rights movement was to apply pressure legally and, when necessary, use nonviolent action to address and remedy the oppression of African Americans. (3) "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ed. James Melvin Washington. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986.
  • Plato. "Crito" Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo. Trans. G.M.A. Grube. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1981.
  • Shepard, Mark, (1990) "Mahatma Gandhi and His Myths", lecture at the 1990 Annual Gandhi Lecture for the International Association of Gandhian Studies; University of Virginia Charlottesville Oct. 2 1990; Retrieved March 3, 2010
  • Thoreau, Henry David. "Civil Disobedience." Walden and Other Writings. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1962.
  • Van Dusen, Lewis H. Jr. "Civil Disobedience: Destroyer of Democracy." The Borzoi College Reader. 7th ed. Ed. Charles Muscatine, et al. New York: McGraw Hill, 1992.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

The History of Civil Disobedience (2012, October 26) Retrieved March 22, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The History of Civil Disobedience" 26 October 2012. Web. 22 March. 2023. <>