Saturday, October 26, 2019

Letter from a Birmingham Jail and The Declaration of Individualism :: Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter from a Birmingham Jail and The Declaration of Individualism 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 a 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 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

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