Consent of the Governed / Right to Vote

Civil Disobedience

In the sections dealing with voting and legal dissent, we examined how citizens can show their consent and dissent within the framework of the law. Generally, commitment to the rule of law is held to be one of the central tenets of democratic living, and yet, from time to time, citizens systematically and deliberately violate the law in order to express their disapproval of and dissent from actions of governments.

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?

Henry David Thoreau


To break the law of the land is serious, but it is not always wrong.

Robert Bolt
(author of A Man for All Seasons)


Civil disobedience - the deliberate violation of a law for a social purpose. To violate a law for individual gain, for a private purpose, is an ordinary criminal act; it is not civil disobedience.

Howard Zinn


There is no such thing as political murder, political bombing, or political violence. There is only criminal murder, criminal bombing and criminal violence.

Margaret Thatcher


Sub-Sections: The sub-sections contained in this topic provide the opportunity of reflecting on civil disobedience in historical and contemporary situations.


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Last Updated: 29-Mar-2004