“Civil Disobedience”
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“Civil Disobedience”. By: Matthew Femia. Historical Background.

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“Civil Disobedience”

By:Matthew Femia

Historical background
Historical Background

  • Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.… where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,– the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.… Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. -Henry David Thoreau

Main idea
Main Idea

  • Thoreau was stating that if law’s, as well as the process by which the laws are designed and enforced are unjust then it is the duty of citizens under the government to counteract.

Point of view
Point of View

  • Made familiar to many Americans by Martin Luther King Jr., who was influenced by the essay to counteract the government using his famous “non-violent” protests.


  • Individuals who apply these beliefs are oppressed in some way or another.

  • Most groups applying this were minorities otherwise if a majority it would have been easily accepted by others, since they’d have strength in numbers.