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SUMMER HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: PART II CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

Due: First day of 2U class in the Second Term - September 2013 Requirements: Minimum 1,200 words answering questions on the writings of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Worth the equivalent of 6 Homework Assignments (will be counted toward second-term homework grade)

Background
The term civil disobedience was coined by Henry David Thoreau in his 1848 essay to describe his refusal to pay the state poll tax implemented by the American government to prosecute a war in Mexico and to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. In his essay, Thoreau observes that only a very few people heroes, martyrs, patriots, reformers in the best sense serve their society with their consciences, and so necessarily resist society for the most part, and are commonly treated by it as enemies. Thoreau, for his part, spent time in jail for his protest. Many after him have proudly identified their protests as acts of civil disobedience and have been treated by their societies sometimes temporarily, sometimes indefinitely as its enemies. Throughout history, acts of civil disobedience famously have helped to force a reassessment of society's moral parameters. The Boston Tea Party, the suffragette movement, the resistance to British rule in India led by Gandhi, the US civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and others, the resistance to apartheid in South Africa, student sit-ins against the Vietnam War, to name a few, are all instances where civil disobedience proved to be an important mechanism for social change. The ultimate impact of more recent acts of civil disobedience anti-abortion trespass demonstrations, the damaging of military property in opposition to the Iraq war, or acts of disobedience taken as part of the environmental movement or the animal rights movement remains to be seen. (Source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Objective
In the second part of this summers homework, English 2U students will be required to utilize existing comprehension and critical thinking skills to write a composition of 1,200 words or more answering questions on the topic of civil disobedience. Writings on this topic (in particular, those by Thoreau) are also often a component of high school curricula in many native English-speaking countries. Required reading for this assignment will be an excerpt from Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, Letter to Lord Irwin by Mahatma Gandhi, and Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is a brief description of each: Civil Disobedience is an essay written in the 19th century by transcendentalist thinker, Henry David Thoreau. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emersons essay on Self-reliance and disenchanted by the falseness, materialism and vanity of his contemporaries, Thoreau decided, in 1845, to build a tiny cabin in Walden woods (not far from Boston) and live a simple existence in complete solitude. He lived isolated from modern society in his cabin for a total of 2 years (even through the harsh cold of winter) and wrote essays about various topics, including the hypocrisy of materialist society, the virtues of solitude and simplicity, and the inestimable value of nature. Thoreaus idealism did not just apply to these principles, but also to the treatment of his fellow man. He maintained strong opposition to slavery, and refused to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American War due to its use of slave labor. Thoreau was jailed for not paying taxes, and wrote Civil Disobedience soon thereafter, as an expression of his belief that all individuals have a moral obligation to disobey laws they view as unjust. In his words: 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. This essay inspired Mahatma Gandhi in his campaign of non-violent resistance against the British rule of India. It also inspired the fundamentals behind the U.S. civil rights movement headed by Martin Luther King. Letter to Lord Irwin is a letter written by Mahatma Gandhi to the British viceroy in India detailing his request for a reasonable diplomatic solution that could allow for an independent India without further economic exploitation by the British. At that time, India had officially been a colony of the British crown since the rule of Queen Victoria in the mid-19 th century. For at least two centuries prior to that, a corporation by the name of the British-East India Company had maintained economic and military control over Indias resources, endowing employees and associates of the company with a greater wealth than even that of the wealthiest members of Indian society (India was, thus, referred to as the jewel in the British crown). In spite of the aspirations of the Indian independence movement, there were still a lot of wealthy Indian landowners ( zamindars) who, at that time, benefited from the real estate laws of the British Republic, while their tenants ( ryots) were treated unfairly. What Gandhi wanted was a new self-governed India that could empower the impoverished as well as the wealthy. Thus, he felt, the independence movement must not make compromises which still unjustly favored the wealthy. He, thus, believed that non-cooperation with unjust British laws could achieve a great deal more in gaining widespread public support than violent revolution. Ten days after dispatching this letter, he undertook his famous 200-mile salt march in non-violent protest of Britains unfair taxation and monopoly of this precious resource. Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience is the transcript of an eloquent speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1961. In this speech, he invokes similar principles to Gandhi in expressing the need for reforms through non-violent means. In this speech, he references the famous quote attributed to the Italian political philosopher Niccol di Bernardo dei Machiavelli: The ends justify the means. This quote (misquote actuallyhe never said it) means that the results achieved are more important than the method of achievement (therefore, it is justified to take the life of one person, for example, to save the lives of manyin other words, the morality of our actions is not important as what we achieve through them). King argues against Machiavellian ideals by proclaiming the means must be as pure as the ends, or in other words, the way something is achieved is as important as achieving it. To battle injustice, one must employ just tactics.

Of course, and especially in the case of the Thoreau essay (which is the most challenging), there will be references to people, historical events, social trends, and ideas that will be difficult to comprehend without further research. I do not expect you to understand every detail of what is being said, but only the main points. Use of dictionaries or the Internet is permitted to enhance understanding, but the slightest hint of plagiarism/copying or academic dishonesty of any kind will result in a failing grade and a possible meeting with parents/guardians. The level of the reading material will definitely be challenging for every student in 2U (some parts will undoubtedly require multiple readings for you to understand its meaning). It is doubtful that you will be able to comprehend 100% of it on your own. It is difficult for me as well. Nonetheless, you are expected to do your best to interpret whatever you can without the aid of others. You are to trust no one elses interpretations or opinions but your own. That also means no copying assignments from your classmates (this, too, will result in a failing grade).

Composition Questions ANSWER AT LEAST ONE QUESTION FROM EACH PART BELOW . Not all questions need to be answered. The minimum
required for the entire composition is 1,200 words. If you wish to split your answers into 400 words each for Parts A, B, and C, that is acceptable, but not necessary. PART A: Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (You are required to answer at least ONE of the following) 1) In paragraph 5, Thoreau says: The mass of men serve the statenot as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constablesIn most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well.Othersrarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it Paraphrase this passage in your own words. How might it relate to the findings of the Milgram Experiment or the Stanford Prison Experiment? 2) In paragraph 10, Thoreau says, There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them What is Thoreaus view of such people? In paragraph 11, he says, Theres but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. What does he mean? Why does he compare the voting majority to slaves? Does Thoreau seem to believe that moral and social justice can be decided by a voting majority? Do you? Give examples. 3) In paragraph 14, Thoreau says, Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform. What does he mean? Can you think of any examples from Lord of the Flies in which this proved to be the case? 4) In paragraph 18, we see the phrase: if it [it meaning 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. Let your life be the counter-friction to stop the machine. Do you agree with Thoreau? Does the individual have a responsibility to oppose the injustice of the machine? What are the consequences of doing so? Give examples. 5) Refer to the following passage from paragraph 23: the rich manis always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; and it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it Here, we can see Thoreaus opposition to materialism as part of his definition of virtuous action. Do you agree or disagree with him? Explain your reasoning. 6) In paragraph 24, Thoreau quotes Confucius: If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by principles of reason, riches and honors are the subjects of shame. What is being said here? Give examples. 7) In paragraph 27, the following notion is put forward: the State never intentionally confronts a mans sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. What examples of this are seen in Lord of the Flies? If Henry David Thoreau (or the ghost of Henry David Thoreau) happened to be on the rescue ship that picked up the boys from the island, what do you think he would have to say to them about their actions? How might he have viewed the actions and the fates of both Piggy and Simon? PART B: Letter to Lord Irwin by Mahatma Gandhi (You are required to answer at least ONE of the following) 1) What examples does Gandhi give of the unjust and exploitative nature of British rule over India? Why does he make comparisons between the salaries of the British Viceroy to India and the British Prime Minister? 2) In what way is the Salt Tax more oppressive to the poor than to the rich? What method(s) of civil disobedience does he wish to employ in order to oppose British rule? What does he say will happen if he is arrested before he is able to put his protest demonstration into effect? 3) According to Gandhi, why is non-violent resistance a better method than violent revolution? PART C: Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience by Martin Luther King (You are required to answer at least ONE of the following) 1) According to King, what are the three ways that oppressed people have dealt with their oppression? (Paragraphs 3 & 4) After explaining the second way, MLK writes, Now of course we know about this method in western civilization, because in a sense it has been the hallmark of its grandeur, and the inseparable twin of western materialism. Explain the underlined phrase. 2) In paragraph 6, King says: the first principle in the movement is the idea that means must be as pure as the end. This movement is based on the philosophy that ends and means must cohereI think that with all of the weaknesses and tragedies of Communism, we find its greatest tragedy right here, that it goes under the philosophy that the end justifies the means that are used in the process. In paragraph 7, he adds, in the long run of history, immoral destructive means cannot bring about moral and constructive ends. The quote, The ends justify the means, refers to a quote erroneously attributed to Machiavelli (see the previous page for a detailed explanation). Why does MLK disagree with Machiavellianism? How is the movement he proposes different? Do you agree with Kings reasoning, or do you agree with the quote? Explain in detail. 3) In paragraphs 8 and 9, MLK explains the different words in the Greek language for love: Eros, Philia, and Agape. Describe each. Which does he believe is most necessary for the civil rights movement? Why? 4) In paragraph 12, we see the phrase: violence and non-violence agree that suffering can be a very powerful social force. According to King, what is the difference in the way suffering is used through violence vs. non-violence? Why does he believe that the non-violent usage of suffering is necessary to the civil rights movement? 5) In paragraph 15, King states: Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as the cooperation with good. In paragraph 21, he also says: We must never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was legal. If Martin Luther King (or his ghost) had been on the ship that rescued the boys from the island in Lord of the Flies, what do you think he might have had to say to them? If Martin Luther King were alive today, what legal evils would he suggest opposing? 6) What distinctions does King make between just and unjust laws? (Paragraphs 16-21) What unjust laws exist today? How might they be opposed? 7) How does King explain the idea of negative peace? Drawing upon this definition, do you believe that negative peace exists today in Japan or in any other part of the world? Give examples.