Law: Demonstrating a Political and Moral Position

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Working thesis: Breaking the law is justifiable when demonstrating a political or moral position because without political demonstrations citizens can fall under government control. A problem occurs when a law strikes us as violating a moral principle and when it hasn’t been changed despite some significant efforts to do so.

Significance: This topic matters because people should be able to challenge the law and express their views. We should be able to think for ourselves and always demand the truth. It is an essential for the political health of the state and therefore a demonstration of good citizenship by the protestors. Citizens must have a right to political participation. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the prime example of why this topic is important and the reason why everyone has the right to protest unjust laws.

Summary of sources:

The majority of the sources discuss disobeying the law for moral reasons or simply supporting the law out of fear. All in all, most of the articles talk about following the rules and obeying law for the sake of order. They also suggest if we are willing to break the laws we should be willing to face the consequences.there is little doubt that for vast numbers of people on countless occasions it is the fear of fines, imprisonment, civil liability, and other sanctions that is the dominant factor in producing genuine obedience to law”in causing behavior that is as it is precisely because of the law, in contrast to behavior that is the product of other and law-independent motivations, but which just happens to be consistent with the law. Another prime exampleMartin Luther King believed, for example, that he had an obligation to obey the law, but believed as well that in some circumstances the moral urgency of taking an action inconsistent with the law provided an even stronger reason, and thus a stronger obligation, going in the opposite direction. From any single action inconsistent with the law, therefore, we cannot infer that the actor had no reason to obey the law, or perceived herself as having had no reason to obey the law.


Frankel, Charles.Is It Right to Break the Law? The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Jan. 1964,

Preview information: Charles Frankel was New York Times writer. He published the article,Is it right to break the law? in 1964. He must have been a very good and well-respected writer to have published in the New York Times. This article was published in the 60’s when protesting of the Civil Rights movement was happening. Acts of racial discrimination were at its all-time high in the United States. The audience he was targeting was Americans who were witnessing so much violence and hate from unjust laws. He explains in his article that at the end of the day nobody has the right to break the law because it defeats the purpose of law itself.

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