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Henry David Thoreau vs Martin Luther King There are times throughout the history of the United States when its citizens have felt the need to revolt against the government The two essays Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau and Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr effectively illustrate the authors opinions of justice Each author has his main point Thoreau in dealing with justice as it relates to government asks for not at once no government but at once a better government King contends that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere Both essays offer a complete argument for justice Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience in 1849 after spending a night in the Walden town jail for refusing to pay a poll tax that supported the Mexican War He recommended passive resistance as a form of tension that could lead to reform of unjust laws practiced by the government He voiced civil disobedience as An expression of the individuals liberty to create change Thoreau felt that the government had established order that resisted reform and change Action from principle the perception and the performance of right changes things and relations it is essentially revolutionary Thoreau refused to pay the poll tax because the money was being used to finance the Mexican War Not only was Thoreau against the war itself but the war was over Texas which was to be used as a slave state His friend offered to pay the tax for him but to Thoreau it wasnt the tax he was objected to it was how the money would be used He believed strongly against paying money to a war he did not support and would rather end up in jail than go against his will A certain passage shows how strong he felt when he said Your money is your life why should I haste to give it my money It was important to Thoreau to get
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