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30 Quotes on Civil Disobedience By Really Famous Leaders

30 Quotes on Civil Disobedience by Famous Leaders
Quotes on civil disobedience sum up the main ideas and principles of this popular movement that helped the oppressed and weaker sections of society to win their civil rights. They emphasize that one should follow the conscience and not comply to discriminatory laws.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
Did You Know?
The Salt March in 1930 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was a major disobedience campaign against the unjust salt laws that imposed a heavy tax on salt production in colonial India. It triggered a widespread discontent among people of all classes against the British rule.
Civil disobedience is an act of protest against the unjust laws of a government. It is a non-violent way to address the unjust state of affairs. Resisting oppressive regimes through peaceful means is a characteristic feature of civil disobedience. The aim is to bring social change and end the unruly system of the powerful authority.

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States against the racial discrimination of African-Americans and the Indian campaign to end the British regime are some examples of civil disobedience that changed the course of history. These popular movements, led by some of the greatest leaders in history brought a radical change to human life. Following are some quotes on civil disobedience by famous leaders.
"I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good."
― Martin Luther King Jr.
"If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man."
― Henry David Thoreau
Martin Luther disobedience quote
"One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
― Martin Luther King Jr.
"You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it."
― Malcolm X
"An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment."
― Mahatma Gandhi
"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
― Henry David Thoreau
"Civil disobedience has an honorable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play."
― Al Gore
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves."
― Henry David Thoreau
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."
― Abraham Lincoln
"Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God."
― Benjamin Franklin
"You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right."
― Rosa Parks
"The civil rights movement did more to free the white man that the black man. ...It freed my soul."
― Joe Biden
Mahatma Gandhi Civil Quote
"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."
― Henry David Thoreau
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
― Edmund Burke
"Half a century ago, the amazing courage of Rosa Parks, the visionary leadership of Martin Luther King, and the inspirational actions of the civil rights movement led politicians to write equality into the law and make real the promise of America for all her citizens."
―David Cameron
"Mass civil disobedience is like an earthquake, a sort of general upheaval on the political plane."
― Mahatma Gandhi
"I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving in."
― Rosa Parks
"When a man's conscience and the laws clash, it is his conscience that he must follow."
― Henry David Thoreau
Cesar Chavez Quotes
"If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything ... that smacks of discrimination or slander."
― Mary McLeod Bethune
"The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating."
― Cesar Chavez
"Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right."
― Henry David Thoreau
"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless and corrupt."
― Mahatma Gandhi
"Civil disobedience means capacity for unlimited suffering without the intoxicating excitement of killing."
― Mahatma Gandhi
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."
― Thomas Jefferson
"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
― Mahatma Gandhi
"If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."
― Henry David Thoreau
"Women have to risk civil disobedience for their rights."
― Sonia Johnson
"As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever."
―Clarence Darrow
"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."
―Robert A. Heinlein
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."
―Bishop Desmond Tutu
Indeed, civil disobedience is an instrument of social change and can be used for betterment of society and individuals. It can help bring awareness about unfair practices meted to the weaker sections of society.