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Declaration of Individualism

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (840 words)
Categories: Individualism
Downloads: 10
Views: 4

An analysis of Martin Luther King Junior’s letter from Birmingham Jail.

Although the time periods and goals may be different the method for bringing about change is usually the same, this method is protest. This method is supported by two different people, in two different time periods, with two different goals; these two people are Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Junior. Martin Luther King Junior’s letter from Birmingham Jail was an expression of his encouragement for protest against tradition and established laws and a justification for his actions.

King, a leader of a civil-rights group that supported protest against traditional views, encouraged protesting against tradition and established laws that are unjust. In his letter from Birmingham Jail King states: “It was illegal to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers.

If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s anti-religious laws.” This excerpt shows that King encourages protest because in some situations he deems it necessary, be it in Hitler’s Germany, a Communist country, or any situation in which injustices are occurring. In the last sentence of the excerpt King openly admits that he would protest against established laws or traditions. King was against the traditional views and unjust laws, which discriminated against him and his fellow people. He felt that the only way that these unjust laws and traditional beliefs would ever change would Greco 2 be by means of protest. He felt that without protest the laws and traditions would remain the same forever. Along with encouraging protest, King’s letter was also a justification of his actions. The letter was written to his fellow clergymen to explain his prior actions and to attempt to justify them. In the letter he tried to explain to the clergy that his actions although illegal were justified and appropriate for the situation. He expressed that he exhausted every other option possible and direct action was the only available option left, which could make a difference. Similarly to King’s letter from Birmingham Jail, The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson to encourage the protest of established laws and justify possible actions. But unlike King, Jefferson also encouraged individualism in his declaration. His views are distinctly stated in the first sentence of The Declaration of Independence: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and the Laws of God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.” In this single sentence Jefferson states his support for the encouragement of individualism and the need for protest against established laws. The declaration was written to bring about unity to our nation. Even though it was meant to bring unity and similarity as a group it still encouraged individualism, just on a larger scale. The document states that we, the entire country, need to unite to become an individual separate from England. Jefferson feels that it is in the course of human event for individualism to occur, and that Greco 3 without individualism change would never occur. The entire document is basically a declaration of individualism. “The Declaration of Independence”, along with the encouragement individualism supports the protest against established laws. The laws of England were the established laws at the time prior to the writing of the declaration, and Jefferson felt that everyone should have the right protest against any laws that they feel are unjust no matter how well established they may be. Throughout the entire declaration Jefferson states how he, and the majority of the nation, felt that the established laws of the time were unjust and deserved protest. Jefferson’s view on protest is clear in one specific sentence of the declaration, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”. Since the laws of the time were thought to be unjust, protest was appropriate and well justified in Jefferson’s eyes. Jefferson stated multiple reasons to justify his view that the colonies needed to separate from England. This document was not only meant to bring about individualism and protest, but justify the future action that would occur to achieve it. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Jefferson were both leaders of revolutions, and though each revolution was vastly different, they believed in the idea that change would not occur unless it was forced along. They believed that change among established laws and traditions could only occur through protest. Two different men, nearly two hundred years apart, with two different goals, and nearly identical methods of achieving their goals

Cite this essay

Declaration of Individualism. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/declaration-of-individualism-new-essay

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