Breaking the Law & Making Change


The idea of being imprisoned or even killed for standing up for what you believe in, is a scary and often distant thought in today’s society. With the right to freedom of speech you don’t often have to think of these as consequences, but for many it was their reality. In the past most instances of breaking the law for a higher good revolved around minorities because they were not looked upon to have the same rights as those of European descent. It is because of the brave individuals who stood their ground and with that stood up for what they believed in, to get their point across and their voices heard, even if it meant to stay sitting.

Can you imagine having to break the law just so you could make a positive difference in the long run? Sounds like an oxymoron but in reality it made a world of difference. Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin are the first women to come to mind. They were the first two women in history to refuse to give up their seat to a white man. In doing such they broke the law of segregation and with that made a lasting statement that is still carried with us today. Their actions not only landed them in jail but in the history books as well. By making these public political statements these two women helped to jump-start the movement on equal rights and gain a strong following along the way. Another example of breaking the law for the greater good is that of Harriet Tubman. Harriet not only escaped slavery but went back to lead many more slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Not only did she break the law but she put her life in danger, though she knew the consequences if caught she carried on because she knew in the end the benefit would be greater than the cost.

The idea of breaking the law for the greater good is one that for me is hard to grasp. I think one would have to be in a situation where they were pushed to their limit, a long lasting fight within themselves or the community. I don’t know that any one of us could say we would break the law to format change, that is until we crossed paths with a movement that we believed in with all of our heart and soul. I believe when the right conditions are met and the mindset cannot be argued, positive change can come from civil disobedience, looking at history it made a world of difference and I believe it will continue to do so for generations to come.

8 thoughts on “Breaking the Law & Making Change

  1. I agree with what you are saying about how a positive change can come from civil disobedience. If Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and Harriet Tubman had not disobeyed the law, we would not have changed any laws and we would not have made any advances with laws. It does take a special person to disobey a law to make a change in the world, best they are the best kind of people.

    1. I agree with this and how positive outcomes often come from civil disobedience. But I’m also curious as to what circumstances are necessary for civil disobedience is acceptable when pushing for a change. I wonder this because I don’t believe drastic actions of civil disobedience is necessary for a scenario that isn’t that serious and doesn’t need to be approached with such aggression.

  2. I really agree with your comment Megan, if Claudette Colvin and many others didn’t stand up and speak up for what is right, our society would still be like how it was then were we as a society look at gender and ethnicity any many other things and judge them for such thing. It takes one person to shine light through the tunnel for many situations and to help resolve these issues and bring them to light.

  3. I agree with you when you say that the idea of breaking the law to foment change is very difficult when you are not in that situation. It is hard to imagine the circumstances that would exist for it to be a reality. When you wrote about how the mindset that cannot be argued with once they break the law to foment change struck a chord with me. When you break the law even though it is to foment change, you will suffer consequences, and I completely agree when you said that those breaking the law need to be absolutely sure without hesitation.

  4. It was honestly amazing how much people like Rosa Parks went through just to have a normal life as a human in America. There is so much about Rosa Parks that I didn’t get to learn about back in High School. Everyone knows her for not giving up her seat on a bus, but she was so much more. She was a very complex woman with lots of passion for her cause!

  5. It takes a certain individual to stand up and create change. That is not something I would be able to do. I could never break the law, maybe if it was for a positive change but even then you do not know if protesting or taking a stand will create a difference. Really we only hear about Rosa Parks and not Claudette Colvin. All of these people are important we only hear about the main ones who have been carried on throughout history.

  6. These individuals put themselves at great risk to fight for what they believed was right. African Americans were treated very poorly and deserved better. It is because of these brave women and others that stood against this unfair treatment that we have made so much progress.

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