Unjust Laws Essay Research Paper

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Unjust Laws Essay, Research Paper # April 4, 2000 Unjust Law ?It is not possible that an individual may be right and a government wrong? Are laws to be enforced simply because they were made or declared by any number of men to be good, if they are not good…What kind of laws for free men can you expect from that? …Christ was crucified…. Captain Brown was hung. These are two ends of a chain, which is not missing its links. -Henry David Thoreau What is this link in the chain of life?s history? It is discontent with unjust laws – cruel and unjust laws enforced by no less cruel and unjust men. But, men through the ages have made known what kind of government commands the respect of freedom loving people. Thoreau wrote in his essay, ?Civil Disobedience? that ?all men

recognize that the right of revolution…the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable,? This paper will show that as man protested against and exposed unjust laws, he left his mark on the future?s destiny. Problems were solved in religion, race relationships, and taxation. Leaders were produced who left a legacy for those who followed and created a base on which others could follow. Although the chain is long. I will begin with Moses. Moses led the people enslaved by the Hebrews in Egypt to freedom. He followed his conscious and rebuked the laws of his adopted father who also was the Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses disobeyed the government, but his legacy live today. His great and noble deeds in behalf of

freedom of an enslaved people and ?The Ten Commandments? given to him by God on Mt. Sinai have been continuously taught the world over up to the present year. Moses? link on the chain of civil disobedience dictates how we live today. Jesus, the founder of ?Christianity?, preached against the dictatorship and ceremonial observance of the Jewish law of the Herodians and the Sanhedrin. Jesus preached for repentance of sin, denial of worship to pagan and idol gods and the virtues of charity, faith, and humility. Jesus was arrested and condemned to death by the chief Jewish tribunal, the Sanhedrin. He was executed along with the other criminals. Nevertheless, Jesus? legacy lives on as a blueprint on how to live. Yet, tyranny and unjust laws have continued through the years. Thoreau

wrote in ?The Captain?s Plea for John Brown.? ?We talk about a representative government; but what a monster of a government is that when the noblest faculties of the mind, and the whole heart, are not represented …The only government to which all the truly brave and just men…. are enemies, standing between it and those whom it oppresses. A government that pretends to be Christian and crucifies Christ everyday.? We see the above in the light of history. In the French Revolution men like Baron deMontesquien in The Spirit of Laws advocated the separation of power with ?checks and balances? in government and uncompromising defense of liberty against tyranny. Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contrast wrote ?man is born free, but today is everywhere in chains?. Just as in France,

The American Revolution pursued the ideals of ?liberty and equality? in repudiating the traditional government. Yet these same colonists who claimed to be Christians and followers of the Ten Commandments and the teaching of Jesus held men in bondage as chattel. Great men arose in the defense of the slaves, John Brown being on of them. The United States of America was formed on the principles of ?separation of power? and ?liberty and equality?. Yet the white Christians only meant ?liberty and equality? for the whites. During the American Revolution, Thomas Paine said, ?Give me liberty or give me death?. He was applauded and deemed a hero; yet when the Black chattels or an abolitionist such as John Brown cried the same for freedom of the slaves they were called insane and charged