Civil Disobedience

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Related to passive resistance: Passive aggressive

Civil Disobedience

A symbolic, non-violent violation of the law, done deliberately in protest against some form of perceived injustice. Mere dissent, protest, or disobedience of the law does not qualify. The act must be nonviolent, open and visible, illegal, performed for the moral purpose of protesting an injustice, and done with the expectation of being punished.

By peacefully and openly violating the law and submitting to punishment, those engaging in civil disobedience hope to draw attention to the law they hope to reform, the injustice they hope to stop, or the policy or practice they hope to end. By calling into question the justness, fairness, Equity, or propriety of the status quo, persons engaging in civil disobedience usually appeal to some form of higher law, whether it be the divine law of god, Natural Law, or some form of moral reasoning.

The philosophical underpinnings for civil disobedience can be found in New Testament writings which report on the teachings of Jesus. They also appear in works by Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson. In a famous essay entitled "Civil Disobedience," Henry David Thoreau claimed that the individual is "a higher and independent power" from which the state obtains its authority. As individuals, people must not wait for the government to recognize injustice and instigate reform, Thoreau said, because the machinery of government moves too slowly. If individuals have right on their side, then they must do right by trying to peacefully and openly change society.Civil disobedience has been extensively employed around the world by nationalist movements (e.g., mohandas gandhi used civil disobedience to protest against British colonial rule in India), Civil Rights leaders (e.g., martin luther king jr. used civil disobedience to protest against racial Segregation laws in the United States), and anti-war protestors (e.g., Muhammad Ali used civil disobedience to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War), among others.

Cross-references

Civil Rights Movement; Protest.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The passive resistances have been replaced with active equivalents, enabling integration in silicon by considerably reducing chip area.
In 1947, the Indian Congress formed a pact with the ANC to work together, focusing on passive resistance. That was the plan until the Sharpville incident on March 21, 1960.
The passive resistance in the model w as represented as the applied knee torque necessary to overcome the maximum pressure differential across the opened valve induced by a maximum knee angular velocity of 330 [degrees]/s, which is characteristic of nondisabled gait with a trunkhip-knee-ankle-foot orthosis (with all joint constraints freed in the sagittal plane).
(36) The court also determined that Bryan's conduct--when considered from the view of a reasonable officer on the scene--was "at most" passive resistance because Bryan was not aggressive and the only order he failed to comply with was the order he contended he did not hear.
Because of the Benjamin influence, Michigan students explored their own research questions against the backdrop of distinctions Benjamin drew between "education," "restraint," and "passive resistance" as approaches to social change within different cultural and geographic settings, and across historical periods.
He believed that the best way to change things was the use of passive resistance. In fact, until 1906, Gandhi had employed a very passive form of protest which was characterized, in the main, by petitions and propaganda.
The state that has been frightened by the passive resistance of some clerks in private firms with two to three employees is very strong.
This is an unusual approach to world history--using the discovery, popularization, and demand for a commodity as catalyst for such significant events as Gandhi's movement of passive resistance. A time line helps to clarify the connection, and appropriate illustrations, maps, and photographs add to the narrative.
The word I most heard being bandied about was "relaxing"--and I'm not sure a three-hour opera centred on Gandhi and the theme of passive resistance ought to have that effect.
The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, says that Israel's leaders are aware of the possibility that the military interception of a flotilla bound for Gaza in late May could turn violent, although lower level military officials had said at the time that the commandos were expecting only passive resistance. An Israeli military investigation concluded last month that the anticipated level of violence used against the Israeli forces had been "underestimated".
On the flotilla's five other ships, there was only passive resistance.
The battle plan was also flawed; for instance, commandos were armed with paint guns because they expected passive resistance.