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Term Paper on Comparison of King, Gandhi And Thoreau's Views On Non-Violence And Peace Making


Martin Luther King:
Martin Luther King was concentrated on theology, and was extremely swayed by the conceptions of Mahatma Gandhi. His enthusiasm for equity, civil rights, and non-violence emphasized his struggle for the rest of his life. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an active figure of the modern time. His lectures and dialogues influenced the matter of non- violence and glittered the conscience of a generation. The movements and marches he led brought vital alteration in the structure of American life through his grit and unselfish dedication. This dedication gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights movements. His dynamic and influential leadership motivated men and women, young and old, in United States and around the world. Dr. King’s conception of ‘somebodiness’, which signified the celebration of human value and the domination of slavery, gave black and poor people optimism and a feeling of self-respect and honor. His conviction of nonviolent direct action, and his approaches for rational and non-destructive social change, inspired the conscience of this nation and reordered its privileges. His wisdom, his words, his actions, his pledge, and his dream for a new way of life are entangled with the American experience.


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King went from the exultant integration of Montgomery's bus system to managing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. He worked with other black leaders to advocate civil rights through non-violent ways. This was not an easy task, however, and he was often at odds with law enforcing agencies as well as with those who validated King's objectives, but who preferred more militant tactics. Throughout the early 1960's King cooperated in civil rights protests and sit-ins. He spoke to advancing large audiences, and in 1963 the gatherings, demonstrations, and marches were producing daily captions across the country. Gaining force and impetus, the civil rights movement was irreversible. In the August 28, 1963 march on Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and addressed a crowd estimated at a quarter of a million people. Here he delivered his persuasive and fluent "I Have A Dream" speech that reverberated all through the population. This is one of Martin Luther King's most celebrated and dominant speeches.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence, you may murder the liar, but cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence, you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact violence merely increase hate. So it goes... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness -- only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate -- only love can do that.”
[Dr. Martin Luther King]

In 1964, Martin Luther King was granted the Nobel Peace Prize. More militant black leaders were becoming more readily eager with King's opinion of non-violence. He was also becoming more of a spike in the sides of the country's political leaders. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover was powerful and he worked hecticly to implicate King’s reputation and his cause. Martin Luther King enriched from a more auspicious relationship with President John F. Kennedy's administration, but things became more far-fetched with the government of Lyndon B. Johnson.  Martin Luther King was driven by his beliefs and he protracted to fight not just for the prosperity of black people, but for all people. In 1968 King was planning for another protest in Washington, D.C. This time it was to be the Poor People's March to Washington, which King expected, would center the nation's focus on destitution in America.


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King was at his best when he was eager to shape the wisdom of many of his racial and national parents. He intelligently controlled their issues to his beliefs to advance extensive social change. He preached that his initial views on race failed to shift America fundamentally. He once believed that appeals to uprightness would demolish prejudice. He later resolved that most Americans were senseless racists. King professed that he had misjudged how deeply ingrained prejudice was in America. Now America had to be compelled to counter its distressing racial legacy. If blacks could no longer adhere on white goodwill to effect social change, they had to affront social change through greater efforts at nonviolent direct action. This meant that blacks and their allies had to grasp political skill. They also had to try to restructure American society, solving the enigmas of inadequacy and economic disparity. Martin Luther King was arguably the finest American who ever lived. Now, after more than thirty years, few people understand how truly revolutionary he was. King's true energy challenges us to accept the very response that makes King fitting in today's world.

“My hero is Martin Luther King, because he wanted equality for all people. I remember listening to him as young child and his words mesmerized me. I want my daughter to know who Martin was and what he stood for. Martin Luther is my hero and always will be.” [Paula P from somewhere in Kansas]

Mahatma Gandhi:
Till date nobody in India has achieved anything like Gandhi. He successfully fought back opposing the British and the despotism they brought with them. Gandhi was a tiny man, born in the ancient city of Porbandar in 1869, stood up and said enough to the British. The world got to know him as Gandhi, the mahatma or "Great Soul" of India. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's early years revealed little sign of the notable life he would go on to live. He went to school, was married and later became a rather failed, awfully scanty lawyer. All this changed, however, one momentous day when Gandhi was refused to take a seat on a carriage in South Africa. The bigot driver made him sit outside in the hot sun on a long trip to Pretoria, plainly because he did not belonged to the white race. Gandhi, until then too shy to even speak in front of a judge, filed a suit and won. From that point on, Gandhi became the number one spokesman for all powerless non-whites who were subjugated to racism the world over.
Mahatma Gandhi was a man who lived and died for fairness through the use of non-violent movement. Gandhi had an extreme impact on his nation and on the world. He died violently and preached the power of love to conquer hatred. Gandhi stated that rights accrue automatically to a person who duly carries out his task. In fact the right to perform one's duties is the only right that is justifying living for and dying for. After twenty years of supporting his fellow Indians in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India and picked up the battle against British injustice. Instead of encouraging native-born Indians to take up arms and drive the British colonists out of their country, Gandhi built an approach of non-violent demonstration. Gandhi believed nonviolence as the weapon for the courageous. For twenty years, non-violent demonstrations, marches and strikes by the Indians wore down British withstanding. Challenged by a slight man wearing only a plain cloth and ushered by millions of followers armed not with arms but passion and love, the British government, in 1946, ultimately gave India it's long-held dream of independence. The fight for India's freedom had been won without a fight having ever been fought.


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Gandhi's concept of democracy and the individual's reliability for trusting it are foretelling for our times of retrogression, apathy, and lawlessness. Two of his standards alone are essential for a democracy to continue and thrive. First that, a born democrat is a born disciplinarian" and secondly that, a democrat must be entirely unselfish. He must think and dream not in terms of self or party but only of republic. In Gandhi's words, no society can perhaps be created on a rejection of individual freedom, and that this so-called title of independence is a fabrication. For Gandhi, freedom meant voluntary control and discipline, voluntary recognition of the dictum of law. This freedom from all attachment is the recognition of God as true. It was his firm conviction that if the State silenced capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the curl of violence itself, and will fall short to develop non-violence at any time. Although he rejects class hatred he suggests in its place the ideologies of satygraha and ahimsa to avert corruption. He concludes that the Capitalist has a burden to use his skills and wealth voluntarily as custody to help those less auspicious then himself.

Gandhi was a man that not only discarded autocracy as an evil and capitalism, as an end in and of itself, but he also constantly abandoned communism and the socialism experienced in his time. Gandhi's rebuttal of socialism for its doctrine of class antipathy was a brave act in the 1930's and 40's when it was contemplated as the rising movement which would clear off the old and bring in a new order. His words are lucid and concise even over a half-century later they still resonate.

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Henry David Thoreau:
Born in 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts, Henry grew up in mild beggary and earlier attended public schools. Through great sacrifice, his family put aside what they could and enrolled him in the celebrated Concord Academy. At only 16 years old, he took the Harvard College exams and passed it. Henry David Thoreau spent the better part of his life writing about his endeavor to find reality and meaning by way of simplified living. He attempted to live within the concord and beauty of nature and most of all, to live life wholly with a fair conscience. America consider Henry David Thoreau like it treats its other libertarian heroes: it disregard their essential libertarian side. Thoreau was too dazzling, meaningful, colorful, and creative to neglect. He had many sides but his political thought was fundamental to his spirits.

Today, Thoreau remains almost solely as a fabricator of valuable ideas on the backside of the civil rights movement. His style of civil disobedience has been extracted and abstracted from its primary radical libertarian context and made suited for all types of liberal and left redistributionist causes. To Thoreau, democracy is far from blessed. It is sanctified that whoever possess might makes right. After all, Thoreau is very right in his discernment of democracy. Lately, everyone has observed how power is used for one’s own sake. When the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are allowed, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this look fairest to the minority, but because they are the strongest.

Thoreau further manifests some of his philosophies about the relationship of man to nature and man to man. Although he rarely sees another human being, he still feels close to his friends in essence. He knows that physical distance does nothing to detach two similar hearts or minds. He also cherishes the fact that friends infrequently come to call on him, and if he is not at home in the cabin, they leave him small, real presents. Thoreau also perceives he is never alone in environment. He savors a harmony with the sun, the sky, the trees, the grass, and the wild animals. In the pleasant company of these natural things, he feels as encompassed and engaged as a man among his closest friends. He rejects the likelihood that a man could ever be lonely when submerged in the wonders of the natural world. Instead, man often believe lonely when he is in a crowd, looking on the rules of etiquette and courtesy.

In 1849, two years after he left Walden Pond, Thoreau publicized his momentous essay “Resistance to Civil Government" which was posthumously titled "Civil Disobedience”. This historic essay emphasized on personal ethics and accountability. Advocating the simple life, Thoreau’s masterpiece ‘Walden’ put peace of mind above all else. As we approach the new century, may we all take the time necessary to relish the precious beauty of nature around us and smell the fresh roses of normal life.


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