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Emily Wilmink

Justin Merritt
Ms. Sobotka
LD Debate: Civil Disobedience
30 November 2015
Affirmative Constructive

a. Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the
sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace. Martin Luther
b. Resolution: Civil Disobedience in a democracy is justified.
c. Key Terms: (Marriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
i. Civil Disobedience: the refusal to comply with certain laws or to
pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest.
ii. Civil Liberties: the state of being subject only to laws established
for the good of the community, especially with regard to freedom
of action and speech; individual rights protected by law from
unjust governmental or other interference.
iii. Democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all
the eligible members of a state, typically through elected


a. Value: Justice
i. Defined: the quality of being fair and reasonable
ii. Importance: Civil disobedience in a democracy distinguishes
justice in the face of injustice; thereby establishing utmost vitality
to the decision of non-violent actions.
b. Criterion: Protect/ advocate for the rights of individuals through nonviolent, peaceful actions against the government to achieve justice for all
of humanity.

c. Contention 1- Success of the Independence Movement in India led by

i. Claim: Mohandas Gandhi portrays effective acts of civil
disobedience against unjust actions of Indias government, in
which civil liberties were violated, thereby establishing a
justification for such measures.
ii. Support:
1. Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South
African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers.
Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was
removed from a first-class railway compartment and
thrown off a train. From thereon, he decided to fight
injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man.
2. Gandhi struggled throughout his life against what he
considered three great evils afflicting India. One was
British rule, which Gandhi believed impoverished the
Indian people by destroying their village-based clothmaking industry. The second evil was Hindu-Muslim
disunity caused by years of religious hatred. The last evil
was the Hindu tradition of classifying millions of Indians as
a caste of "untouchables". Untouchables, those Indians
born into the lowest social class, faced severe
discrimination and could only practice the lowest
3. launch a campaign against legislation that would deprive
Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian

Congress and drew international attention to the plight of

Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government
sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi
organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil
4. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise
agreement with the South African government.
5. 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britains
mandatory military draft of Indians.
6. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by
1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for
independence. Always nonviolent, he asserted the unity of
all people under one God and preached Christian and
Muslim ethics along with his Hindu teachings. The British
authorities jailed him several times, but his following was
so great that he was always released.
7. On March 12, 1930, Indian independence leader Mohandas
Gandhi begins a defiant march to the sea in protest of the
British monopoly on salt, his boldest act of civil
disobedience yet against British rule in India.
8. Defying the Salt Acts, Gandhi reasoned, would be an
ingeniously simple way for many Indians to break a British
law nonviolently. He declared resistance to British salt
policies to be the unifying theme for his new campaign of
satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience.

9. On March 12, Gandhi set out from Sabarmati with 78

followers on a 241-mile march to the coastal town of Dandi
on the Arabian Sea. There, Gandhi and his supporters were
to defy British policy by picking up pinch of salt from sand.
All along the way, Gandhi addressed large crowds, and
with each passing day an increasing number of people
joined the salt satyagraha. By the time they reached Dandi
on April 5, Gandhi was at the head of a crowd of tens of
thousands. Gandhi spoke and led prayers and early the next
morning walked down to the sea to obtain salt.
10. CivildisobediencebrokeoutallacrossIndia,soon
11. Indias independence was finally granted in August 1947.
Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist less than six
months later.
12. Gandhis persuasive methods of civil disobedience
influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the
world, especially Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United
d. Contention 2-Success of the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther
King, Jr.
i. Claim: Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, such as Martin
Luther King, Jr., utilized methods of civil disobedience against the

government in the face of turmoil to achieve justice, thereby

justifying such actions in a democracy.
ii. Support:
1. Civil Rights Movement began 400 years ago with the
transportation of slaves to American colonies for plantation
and agricultural work.
2. Movements overall strategy (Zunes & Laird, 2010).
a. Litigation, the use of mass media, boycotts,
demonstrations, sit-ins, Marches, boycotts, voter
registration drives and other forms of civil
b. Turn public support against institutionalized racism
c. Secure substantive reform in US law.
3. Thousands arrested in nonviolent protests which inspired
wide spread public support
4. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP)-founded 1909
a. 8,000 African Americans marched in silence down
Fifth Avenue in New York City seeking fair wages
and jobs.
5. Inspiration from Gandhis campaigns
a. 1941- Phillip Randolph called for a march on
Washington, D.C.
i. Protest job discrimination in the defense
industry in which 100,000 are predicted to
ii. Prompted President Roosevelt to
immediately issue an Executive Order
banning discrimination in defense hiring.

iii. The march, having won its objective without

having happened, is called off.
b. Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) founded in
i. Small organization -never more than a few
hundred members
ii. Yet it waged a series of successful sit-ins
Chicago (1942), St. Lewis (1949) and
Baltimore (1952) to desegregate public
iii. 1947 CORE partners with the Fellowship of
Reconciliation (FOR) in the first Freedom
iv. Interracial group of eight white and eight
black men provoke harassment and arrest as
they ride interstate buses through Virginia,
North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.
v. The action, called a Journey for
Reconciliation, focuses national attention on
CORE, nonviolent action and the injustice
of segregation
6. A case the following year challenging racial segregation on
private interstate buses and railways led to a ruling that
racial segregation on private interstate trains and buses was
7. A bus boycott was organized under the leadership of the
Montgomery Improvement Association, headed by Martin

Luther King, Jr.

a. 42,000 people, lasted 381 days,
b. Economically crippled the bus service, resulting in
the successful integration of all city buses
c. Inspired young African-Americans to support civil
rights movement based on nonviolence
8. MLK Jr. founded SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership
Conference) in 1957
a. Asked President Eisenhower for a White House
Conference on Civil Rights.
b. President refused, SCLC responds by leading
25,000 people in a prayer march on the Lincoln
c. Speakers called for nonviolent struggle, boycotts,


work slow-downs and strikes.

d. Wichita and Oklahoma City targeted by sit-ins.
Greensboro, North Carolina
a. University students participated in a sit-in at a
Woolworths lunch counter.
b. Other students quickly joined.
c. Dramatic footage of sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee
showed students being harassed and arrested for

sitting at the lunch counter.

10. More sit-ins in South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina,
Florida, and Virginia. Rather than slow the sit-ins, the
arrests publicized them, as sit-ins hit 50 American cities in
just three months.
a. One lunch counter after another became integrated.
b. More than 3,600 people were voluntarily arrested in
the sit-ins.
c. Formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating

Committee (SNCC) in April of 1960, which soon

became a powerful force for civil rights
11. CORE tested this ruling by organizing a second Freedom
Ride, this time far deeper into the South.
a. Seven blacks and six whites leave Washington, D.C.
on May 4
b. Two integrated groups were met by violent white
mobs and arrests by police
c. Federal authorities stepped in to guarantee
d. New group of mostly SNCC arrived to continue the

Ride until they were arrested and jailed.

Like the lunch counter sit-ins, more and more
activists arrived to fill the seats of the jailed and

beaten Riders.
f. 328 people are arrested before they finish.
g. By November, Attorney General Robert Kennedy
and the Interstate Commerce Commission intervene
to force integration.
h. In just a few months the Freedom Riders had
integrated interstate travel.
12. Birmingham, Alabama 1963
a. Selective buying boycott was pressuring local
businesses for equal access to jobs
b. Sit-ins hit Birmingham libraries and restaurants.
c. Kneel-ins disrupted services in all-white churches.
d. Demonstrations continued in violation of a court
order barring further protest, resulting in hundreds
of arrests, including that of King.
e. In a radical escalation of the conflict, over 1,000
young African-Americans, teenagers and even

younger, walked out of school for a downtown

protest where most were arrested.
f. Youthful protests the following day were met with
police dogs and high-pressure water cannons,
provoking widespread international support for the
movement as images are broadcast and published.
g. As the protests escalated, jails overflowed and
businesses were occupied by protesters, and local
business leaders entered negotiations and agreed to
the movements demands for integration and an end
to discrimination in hiring
13. In Selma, Alabama a SNCC-led effort to register voters was
met with violence. A subsequent march from Selma to the
state capital in Montgomery was violently broken up by
police before federal marshals and additional volunteers
arrived to complete the initially aborted march. This
provided greater momentum for the passage of a federal
voting rights act, which was signed into law the following
year, transforming the politics of the South.
14. Movement ignited national crisis that paved way for federal
government intervention to overturn segregation laws of
the south, restore voting rights for African-Americans, and
end discrimination throughout the south.
e. Contention 3- Moral response to injustice
i. Claim: Civil disobedience in a democracy is justified due to the
first amendment rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the United

States juxtaposed with John Lockes Second Treatise, of Civil

Government in which a democracy is outlined; thereby proving
civil disobedience to be a civil liberty, which a democracy
guarantees for all of humanity.
ii. Support:
1. Throughout the existence of humanity, the concept of
natural rights has established the foundation of political
2. Natural rights are those rights under the natural law, or,
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the
Declaration of Independence
3. In his Second Treatise of Civil Government, this concept
was further exemplified when John Locke argued for man
to be in, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions,
and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think
fit, within the bounds of the laws of Nature
4. John Locke also argued that, Whosoever uses force
without right-as every one does in society who does it
without law-puts himself into a state of war with those
against whom he so uses it, and in that state all former ties
are cancelled, all other rights cease, and every one has a
right to defend himself, and to resist the aggressor
5. Additionally, he argued that men, constitute to themselves
a new legislative, as they think best, being in full liberty to
resist the force of those whowould impose anything upon

6. In other words, John Locke argued that individuals have the

right to rise as a superior power over current government
legislation in order to advocate for what they deem right
and justified.
7. This leads me to the 1st Amendment outlined in the Bill of Rights
of the U.S. Constitution, which states,
a. Congress shall make no law respecting an

establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free

exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
government for a redress of grievances.
8. The freedom to peacefully assemble justifies the act of
civil disobedience, defined as the refusal to comply with
certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of
political protest.
9. Which goes back to John Lockes assertion that citizens have the
right to defend them selves, which again is outlined in the
constitution of a democratic United States.


a. Summary:
i. Closing: I have shown you that Mohandas Gandhi utilized
effective acts of civil disobedience against unjust actions of Indias
government, in which civil liberties were violated, and leaders of
the Civil Rights Movement, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.,
utilized methods of civil disobedience against the government in
the face of turmoil to achieve justice, and the first amendment

rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States

juxtaposed with John Lockes Second Treatise of Civil Government
justifies civil disobedience to be a civil liberty, which a democracy
guarantees for all of humanity.
ii. For these reasons, we can clearly conclude that the value of justice
must be upheld and civil disobedience in a democracy is justified.
Cross Exam by Negative
Negative Constructive
Cross Exam by Affirmative


Clarification questions
a. Can you define democracy?
b. When you mentioned specific countries that failed when exercising civil
disobedience, werent those countries that were non-democratic?
Set up argument
a. Can you tell me what the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees
for all citizens?
b. How do you justify the freedom of speech and freedom to assembly in
regards to civil disobedience? In other words, are citizens only exercising
their civil liberties granted to them by the U.S. Constitution when
engaging in acts of civil disobedience?

Affirmative Rebuttal (4 minutes)


2 minutes on Negative Case

2 minutes on responding to Negative
a. What was argued?
b. What was not argued?
c. Why is the argument flawed?

Negative Rebuttal
Affirmative Rebuttal (3 Minutes)


2 minutes spent on Negative Rebuttal

Last minute synthesizing debate
a. We should uphold the value of justice, not the value of pragmatism.
Justice is of utmost importance to all of humanity, and every individual
has a right to respond to what they believe in. What is practical for one
government or nation is not practical for the next, and every individual
must stand up for themselves, or else democracies will never achieve
justice for their own people.
b. As Martin Luther, a German Theologian and leading proponent of the
Protestant Reformation, once asserted, Peace is more important than all
justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the
sake of peace.

Reference List
BRIA 16 3 b Bringing Down an Empire: Gandhi and Civil Disobedience - Constitutional
Rights Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2015, from http://www.crfusa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-16-3-b-bringing-down-an-empire-gandhi-andcivil-disobedience
Locke, J. (1689). The Second Treatise of Civil Government. Awnsham Churchill.
Gandhis first act of civil disobedience. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2015, from
Zunes, S., & Laird, J. (2010). Movements and Campaigns. Nonviolent Conflict, Retrieved
from https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/index.php/movements-andcampaigns/movements-and-campaigns-summaries?