Comparison of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr.

The following sample essay presents a comparison between Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. To read the introduction, body, and conclusion of the essay, scroll down.

There is no uncertainty that there are many similarities between Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry Thoreau though they did non populate in the same century. King himself declared that he was greatly influenced by Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedient. The two civil right militants had similar thoughts on justness in the society.

It is besides believed that Thoreau’s work was besides influenced by Ralph Emerson who initiated the ideas about transcendental philosophy in him. Although some people believe that King was more influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. the great Indian leader. it is of import to observe that the thoughts of Gandhi were based on the thoughts put frontward by Thoreau.

Furthermore. King stated that while in college. he read Thoreau’s try on civil disobedient which inspired really strong feelings on him ( Arsenault.

pg 62 ) . The chief difference between Thoreau and King is the context in which each one of them operated. It is besides of import to observe that King was most vocal a century after Thoreau had left the scene. Thoreau was an writer historiographer and a philosopher in the nineteenth century. One of his most celebrated books other than the civil disobedient essay was the Walden which had the chief subject as simple life.

Thoreau was besides a white American since his gramps was a Frenchman. He was opposed to the unfairnesss against the minority in the society in the mid 19th century which included African Americans being used as slaves and the Mexican American war.

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On the other manus. King was a reverend. He is considered to be the greatest civil militants in America in the twentieth century. He was the leader of African Americans civil rights motion. In the mid twentieth century. there was no bondage in the United States but the African Americans were segregated and discriminated by the dominant race.

King mobilized African Americans in protest lucifers and civil disobedient as a manner of contending for justness in the society ( Powell. pp 26 ) . Despite the two militants working in different centuries. they changed the civil rights traditions of civil rights and reforms in the American society. Thoreau was the first individual to present the thought of civil disobedient as channel of forcing for reforms in the American society. Since the publication of his essay on civil disobedient in the mid nineteenth century. his thoughts have transformed activism in the whole universe.

The most celebrated influence of Thoreau thoughts was on King’s missive which he wrote while in prison in Birmingham. In the missive. King provinces that Thoreau essay convinced him that non collaborating with what is evil is every bit indispensable as cooperation with what is good. This is a clear indicant that King’s thoughts on civil rights motion were straight borrowed from Thoreau’s thoughts. The missive did non merely back up the thought on non violent civil disobedient in human rights protest but besides expounded on the thoughts introduced by Thoreau in the nineteenth century ( Schroeder. pp 1 ) .

Thought the two militants had different positions on the rights and freedom of all in the society. their positions were based on the same thought. The basic thought was that the laden demand to take an active function in the battle against their rights. They were more concerned about the unequal intervention of the minorities in the society either being enslaved or segregated. While Thoreau advocated for individualized rights. King advocated for public consciousness of the freedoms and rights for the good of all ( Chernus. pp 305 ) .

Though the missive from Birmingham by Martin Luther King Jr. was based on the same thought with the civil disobedient essay by Thoreau. the two writers were different on all facets. However. this does non contradict the fact that both played an of import function in procuring freedom for the African Americans. Thoreau aided in procuring freedom for the fleeting slaves in the nineteenth century through his strong unfavorable judgment against bondage while King led non violent protest lucifers and civil disobedient against the Jim Crows Torahs that segregated African Americans.

They both held a strong place that unfair Torahs should be opposed by the multitudes ( Powell. pp 26 ) . The effectivity of civil disobedient and peaceable direct action in the 2nd half of the twentieth century led by King was inspired by the effectivity of the attack in India led by Gandhi. Thoreau’s thoughts had been proved to be effectual in India. King reintroduced Thoreau’s thoughts into the American protest traditions which were really effectual. The bequest of the two great work forces is still apparent in the American society every bit good as other societies of the universe today.

It is common for conservationists. civil rights militants and same sex matrimony protagonists to raise the words of King and Thoreau to support their places ( Powell. pp 26 ) . It is incontestable that Thoreau in the nineteenth century and King in the twentieth century played an of import function in the battle for African American rights. They introduced the thought of civil disobedient in the American society which proved to be effectual. Though both of them were radically different. there thoughts on civil rights and civil disobedient were really similar.

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Comparison of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr.. (2017, Oct 08). Retrieved from

Comparison of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr.
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