Civil disobedience

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For the essay by Henry David Thoreau, see Civil Disobedience (Thoreau).

Civil disobedience encompasses the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government or of an occupying power without resorting to physical violence.


  • Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
  • The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
    • Hannah Arendt, "Civil Disobedience", Crisis of the Republic, (1972)
  • Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison...the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.
  • Civil disobedience is still disobedience.


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