Civil Disobedience

In political and cultural terms, acts of civil defiance and dissidence against powerful leaders or governments can be traced to early recorded history. The broad concept of civil disobedience to unjust laws, however, has its roots in Greek philosophy, where the idea emerged that one’s individual or subgroup conscience may take precedence over social or community jurisprudence. The significance of one’s conscience, and thus conscientious development, was a hallmark of Greek philosophy as a whole, though the balance between these concerns and the importance of the state was not consistently or overtly articulated. It was not until the 19th-century writings of Percy Shelley and Henry David Thoreau that the concepts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance were explicitly articulated as such, with descriptive specifics regarding ...

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