As we continue to examine the question of “what is the relationship between the citizen and the state” this week we will do so informed by your reading of Henry David Thoreau’s famous text ‘Civil Disobedience’.
After analysis of the text and discussion of the topic in Socratic seminar, you will have a choice again this week of three potential projects to complete analyzing and addressing the topic of civil disobedience. As you work on this project remember that you must cite at least three reliable sources, with one of them being Thoreau’s essays.
Project Option 1: Exposition – Visual Infographic
Following is a list of individuals who were responsible for leading important civil disobedience (and nonviolent resistance) movements throughout world history.
1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—clergyman and civil rights activist
2. Alice Paul—American suffragist
3. Nelson Mandela— Anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa
4. Mohandas Gandhi—Leader of the Indian independence movement
5. Leymah Gbowee—Liberian peace activist
For each person, answer the following questions:
• Describe the background of the law or governmental policy in question. What was the individual and his or her allies protesting?
• In what specific acts of civil disobedience did they engage?
• How did the government and/or the public respond to their actions?
• Were the goals of movement achieved?
• What role did civil disobedience play in helping them to achieve their goals? Did their actions work against them in any way?
You infographic must have at least three sources cited, and must use a minimum of 10 images. Remember, PiktoChart is a great website that easily allows you to create infographics.
Project Option 2: Compare and Contrast – Written Statement
Compare and contrast Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, focusing on their purpose, tone, figurative language and their definition of a ‘just law’.
Your response must be 1500 words, written in MLA format.
Project Option 3: Argumentation – Debate
In a debate with another student, defend, challenge or qualify your response to the question ” How effective has modern civil disobedience in causing positive change in the world in the last thirty years?” The examples you reference in your argument must be from 1986 to the present, and you should also consider the following questions as you prepare: What sacrifices would one need to make to commit an act of passive resistance? What could some of the negative consequences of the action be? In what ways does a person who commits civil disobedience alienate him/herself from society?
Your debate should follow the format for academic debate outlined below, and can be performed in class Friday. Additionally, you may record your debate with this student and submit the video to me by Friday night. If you would like to form teams of three for each side of this debate, please let me know and that can be arranged.
Click here to view the standard debate outline you will need to follow.