Civil Disobedience

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Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience, refusal to obey civil laws or decrees. This refusal usually takes the form of passive resistance. People practicing civil disobedience break a law because they consider the law unjust, want to call attention to its injustice, and hope to bring about its repeal or amendment. They are also willing to accept any penalty, such as imprisonment, for breaking the law.

In perhaps his most famous essay, “Civil Disobedience” (1849), the American author Henry David Thoreau set forth the basic tenets of civil disobedience for the first time. The individual, Thoreau claimed, is “a higher and independent power,” from which the state obtains its power. Civil disobedience was later practiced by pacifists and by individuals devoted to such causes as woman suffrage and prohibition. Two notable examples of progress were achieved through the practice of civil disobedience in the mid-20th century. The first, the independence of India, was largely a result of Mohandas Gandhi’s programs of satyagraha (Sanskrit for “truth and firmness”), which followed the principle of nonviolent resistance to British colonial laws. The second involved civil rights legislation in the United States, in which the nonmilitant efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr., played a primary role. (1)

Civil Disobedience

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See Also

  • Civil disorder

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Notes and References

  1. Encarta Online Encyclopedia

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Hierarchical Display of Civil disobedience

Politics > Politics and public safety > Trends of opinion
Politics > Politics and public safety > Politics > Political opposition
International Relations > Defence > Armed forces > Military discipline
International Relations > Defence > Armed forces > National service > Conscientious objection
International Relations > Defence > Armed forces > National service > Failure to report for duty

Civil disobedience

Concept of Civil disobedience

See the dictionary definition of Civil disobedience.

Characteristics of Civil disobedience

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Translation of Civil disobedience

Thesaurus of Civil disobedience

Politics > Politics and public safety > Trends of opinion > Civil disobedience
Politics > Politics and public safety > Politics > Political opposition > Civil disobedience
International Relations > Defence > Armed forces > Military discipline > Civil disobedience
International Relations > Defence > Armed forces > National service > Conscientious objection > Civil disobedience
International Relations > Defence > Armed forces > National service > Failure to report for duty > Civil disobedience

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