|El Jan Daulo
The Band of Great Minds
Great minds throughout the history of mankind have influenced each other and the society to form an undying band of greatness and fortified principles. The society is opting to adapt the principles these great philosophers have theoretically innovate to eradicate the absurd idealisms which is damaging our society. The transcendentalist’s idealisms which promotes a non-violent protests against the system and nature based principles had a drastic impact on our future leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. These had influenced their perspectives in social issues such as government, freedom, equality, and life. Their contributions served as an example that life is interpreted in various ways and viewed open-mindedly. These great men have been greatly influenced by these prominent figures in their lives causing them to adapt these qualities and attitudes that served as their stepping stones to success later in life. Ultimately, they all formulate these non-violent ideas and movements to eradicate the system that has been lingering in our supposedly one and a united society. The advancement in our ideologies and perspective towards freedom and equality will be susceptible only if an individual accepts these changes in their lives. The freedom, truth, equality and justice have been only a shadow hiding behind the unjust and a blinded society. These movements will open up their eyes, minds, and souls to rethink how valuable these qualities are into an individual’s life and ultimately for the society.
Thomas Jefferson is one of the most prominent figures that had influence and touched the hearts of many inhabitants of America. His determination to provide the freedom and the rights his citizens have been longing for, black or white, he was inspired to produce a very risky and unprecedented proposal that led to the birth of “The Declaration of Independence.” In the “Declaration of Independence”, it drives to our attention that every individuals are entitled to live happily and free under any circumstances. His writing is one of the most powerful weapons ever created that defeated the major differences and state man has created. It is the weapon that led to the withdrawal of our allegiance to the Great Britain and as a result, we are granted of our independence. The well known main objectives of his non violent protests against the monarch are to propose the rights and essence of life that an individual must have as a part of a developing diverse society. Amongst these are our natural rights which are rights that we obtain from the day we were born. He strongly agrees that everyone must be legible to attain “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (The Declaration of Independence) as an individual. Despite of the possible consequences his actions may bear, he did not hesitate to provide aid his country that has been pleading freedom for number of decades. The bravery and strong principle he demonstrated had provided us the security of freedom and the power to define our will.
The written agreement has been used as a reference many mainly regarding freedom, progress, and justice for all. Henry David Thoreau is an American poet, a transcendentalist, and an abolitionist during the 1800’s who admired and at the same time questions the liability of the “Declaration of Independence.” He wrote an essay that struck many people from the different level of the society which addresses the problems we are dealing within the government. His complexity towards developing his ideas and principles made him an outstanding figure during his era. The sophistication of “Civil Disobedience” proves his understanding of human nature against the unprecedented rules created by man. It attacks the government’s policies and regulations that contribute to the destruction of our rights and nature. The emotions that triggered him to compose such a powerful piece of writing is his experience of being a prisoner for refusing to conform to the policies that the government impose in the society. The refusal to pay the tax lead to his imprisonment and will only be released if he pays off his debt in the government. He wanted change, this change that he thought is necessary for the people to also follow his footsteps.
The realization of why must we participate in the act with full knowledge of what will be the outcome of these decisions. He strongly refused to conform to the laws and regulations for what he believes will injure our intuition, society, and ultimately our inner self. He claimed that “for some one interfered, and paid that tax- I did not perceive that great changes” (Civil Disobedience). The interference of the society in ones action could ruin its whole concept of achieving the ultimate goal of standing out for what is right. The refusal had resulted into a conflict that even he himself is wondering why do we have to pay for something that is unnecessary and will possibly contribute to a massive devastation of our civil rights and nature. Obeying is understood to be morally right but up unto an extent that the decisions made from this act does not oppress another individual or groups rights. The main reason he refused to pay the tax is his disagreement to the war that will have a great probability that if successful, it will expand the slavery down south.
The Mexican war will increase the boundaries of United States from Texas and will promote more slavery and oppression towards our fellow African-American brethren. This is likely the reason why his disobedience to the government was clearly spotted. By conforming to laws that are against our principles will make us no better individuals than of that who conform and degrade and puts their fellow brothers in line. He stated that “There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.” (Civil Disobedience Part 3- 19). The government itself created laws which are supposedly subject to protect the citizen of its State’s the rights and its liabilities. However, in order to do this, the State itself must be much more open to a diverse and respect the individual’s rights to expresses their opinions towards the social issues and disobedience towards the government.
Leaders arise from different influences who may share common principles, perspectives, and idealisms towards life and nature. Henry David Thoreau served as a paragon in the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr. The influenced Thoreau’s brought to King is his very influential and powerful essay the “Civil Disobedience” which mainly discusses what individuals should and must do if the government is doing something unjust and morally wrong in the eyes of the society and God. King strongly believed that through non-violent movements the power of words, unity, and individualism will serve as their main weapon on their journey towards a better society. It is a really powerful piece that influenced his idealisms throughout his journey towards achieving civil rights movement. The ultimate power of their voices will conquer and abolish the government’s unjust and unequal treatment of human beings. Being a civil disobedient at an extent is just to protect that our rights as individuals in this society who are implied to conform to unnecessary acts of oppression and suppression within our own kinds. The government has done something insignificant in terms of critical decision makings that lead to another group of people to be treated and separated from the society. The oppression must be eradicated to promote a much well being community which is more diverse and executes laws justly and morally right. Individualism is well addressed in both of their writings. We must stand up for our rights as an individual within a society. His principle is that violence is not necessary in order to break the barrier that isolates an individual from speaking out against the issues and differences that oppresses certain groups of people and our natural rights as human beings.
He was imprisoned for doing a non-violent act protesting the laws that are oppressing our fellow brethren and that they must and deserved to be granted of their civil rights which they attain from the day they were born. However, this act resulted in an opposite way leading King to serve times in prisons. This ignited his will to write about his experiences and emotions towards how the church reacted and perceived his action as an act of extremist. The “Letter from a Birmingham Jail [king, Jr.]” addresses the injustices of laws and partially his sympathy to the poor young souls of the people who are doing the act of oppression towards one another. He assumes that since he himself is a minister, the church would pay him respect and support. But even that, there is none that he was granted instead made him gained a title of an extremists. Similar to Thoreau, they viewed the government as the one who are assigned the tasks to protect the individual’s rights. However, their disagreement to the “Declaration of Independence” is that they passed laws that instead of protecting, it neglects an individual from having the justice that we attain. It is a paradox that these laws created by men are also deferred by men. King discusses the difference between a just and unjust law. These laws are established to protect an individual from being oppressed in any form. It is the same situation in the government and the purpose of its existence.
The government is established for the purpose of serving the people and its state. This establishment is supposedly the voice of the people, protect our “unalienable rights”, but instead created laws that contradict the whole idea behind the “Declaration of Independence” that “all men are created equal”. He then brought fort to our attention the interpretation of an unjust law. King stated that “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.” (Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King Jr.]. The laws that are passed which oppresses an individual is unjust and morally wrong. These is our rights that are being degraded and we must make an action to protect them. The government is established to protect these rights; this gives us the power to uplift if there is something that goes against our intuition and conscience.
In conclusion, these similarities between the two prominent figures of different eras relates to each other through their strong principle and following their intuitions. It is just to address the major differences and issues our government and the society is doing to prevent a disastrous outcome in the future generations. If we do not speak out and seek for what is right for ourselves, we will be trap in a chaotic situation that would be really hard to escape. We must bend the rules that our consciences are dictating us that is wrong and unjust. Ultimately, we hold the key to our freedom, the more we seek for the questions and answers and follow our conscience and intuition, the clearer the outcomes will be. We must question everything and be vigilant, after all as an individual in this society it is our obligation to protect these rights if the system alone is insufficient and to much discrepant in enforcing the laws of nature.
El Jan Daulo
English 101/ Defining Freedom
Teddy Chocos and Polly Welsh
efferson, Thomas. "Declaration of Independence." Letter to King George. June 1776. MS.
King Jr., Martin Luther. "Lettery from Birmingham Jail." Letter to The Clergy. 16 Apr. 1963. MS. Jail, Birmingham, Alabama.
Thoreau, Henry D. "Civil Disobedience." N. pag. Print.