David Laughlin

Mr. Tierney
World History Final

History Final DBQ:
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting
the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.” (MLK,
Jr.) These three men that are highlighted in the articles all used non-violence
campaigns to accomplish monumental tasks, such as freeing a country from a tyrant
country, or granting equality for all people no matter what they look like or believe
in. Non-violence campaigns have been some, if not the most successful campaigns
ever run. You don’t need violence to accomplish a goal, you just need to stand up to
them and take whatever they throw at you and never lose heart or faith in what you
believe in. If you do this, you will see guaranteed results.
The reason that non-violence campaigns were so successful could boil down
to three specific points.
1. They all believed that law was a very powerful tool that could be used to
solve or emphasize the ideas/actions behind their campaigns.
2. The presences of violence: without the possibility of a violent revolution, the
government might not have been willing to change.
3. They all had charismatic, determined, and devoted leaders that were capable
of leading a non-violent revolution.
These three points can be found in each revolution. Without the presents of each of
these points the results may have been a little different, but because they were
present we got the results that we see today.
Mohandas Gandhi “Gandhi” was the leader behind the Independence of India
in the early 1900’s-1950. He fought a bloodless battle with the British Empire for
some 56 years. His campaign began when he tried to practice law in South Africa but
was thrown off a train for being a colored man in a first class seat. He successfully
freed South Africa through a non-violent campaign and sought to do the same in
India as he returned. He was struck with a world of fierce poverty and the radical
indifference upon his return to India. He decided it was his duty to free his country
from the oppression of the British Empire and he devoted his life to this duty that
ended up testing the heart, mind, and soul of both him and his country. Gandhi
begins to organize petitions and rallies that start to raise awareness of the coming
revolution. At each rally, Gandhi gains more supporters. The British arrest him, but
that only fuels the rallies and the petitions. The demonstrations become so big; that
the British agree to not arrest him again for fear that the rallies will become too
powerful and break out into a riot. Through constant non-violent petitioning and
challenging the law Gandhi’s followers become strong enough to become a force to
be reckoned with by the British Empire. The symbolic “salt acts” became the turning
point in the revolution and the Indian population began to gain power over the
British Empire and challenge the British law. Not long after the country of India was
granted it independence from the British Empire.
Similarly, Martin Luther King Jr. was the non-aggressive leader of the Civil
Rights Act that gave the African American population equality among the whites in

David Laughlin
Mr. Tierney
World History Final
the United States. King grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, in the South. The South was a
tough place for an African American to live. It was filled with deep hate and was
riddled with inequality. Through all this turmoil, King was able to go to college and
graduate with two degrees and obtain his doctor of divinity. He became a very
prominent member of the African American religious community, which helped him
rise to different positions that would put him in key position to fight against
inequality. He rose to became the first president of the South Christian Leadership
Conference. This gave him very prestigious honors and opportunities to meet with
the President of the United States and other elected officials. Dr. King began
organized petitions that gather great crowds of supporters that marched for equals
rights. He was a powerful speaker and a great organizer. His speeches inspired
thousands of people. His “I Have A Dream” speech inspired so many people that the
government did what was right and granted everyone civil rights!
Less known to American’s Rolihlahla “Nelson” Mandela was the driving force
that opposed apartheid in South Africa. In its simplest terms, apartheid just means
“radical apartness.” Mr. Mandela was given the name Nelson by his English
classmates because his African name was too hard to say. This incident represented
the first time Mandela felt different and disrespected for being black. He later
attended college and got a degree in law. He tried to practice law in Johannesburg
but it was hard for a black man to get any business in a majority white population.
Once Afrikaner, one of South Africa’s political parties came to power in the 1948
election, he fought against segregation rules law which cemented the coming
hardship for the black population in South Africa. Nelson later joined The African
Nation Congress (ANC) and quickly became its first youth leader. In the early 1960’s
the ANC was encouraged to fight for equality and so they did. This caused the South
African government to step up their rules and become much more stringent across
all racial laws. Social limits were drawn and in 1961 the AND organized a military
branch that Mandela lead. It advocated a limited use of arms against the
government. The South African Government became outraged and set out to find
and discredit Mandela, who was deep in hiding at this point. The persistent South
African government found him and sentenced Mandela to life in prison. He was in
prison for 27 years before he was released. His imprisonment caused the black
population in South Africa to rally behind him and the fight for equality was reborn
upon his release from prison. Once he was released it wasn’t too much longer before
he was back fighting apartheid. A short time later he accomplished his goal and
apartheid was abolished in South Africa.
The source documents mentioned in my the article all have one common
theme – the three leaders I describe above believed in and use non-violence to forge
social change. So what I decided to do was divide up the 12 documents by the leader
that they correspond to.
Documents 1, 4, 7, 10 all correspond to Gandhi. They each deal with a
different aspect of what Gandhi did or how he accomplished that action. Take article
1 for instance, it is a letter to the English Governor of India. The letter addresses all

David Laughlin
Mr. Tierney
World History Final
of Gandhi’s plans and states that no violence will be used and that he will break any
unjust laws and will accept the punishments for his actions. Then article 7 talks
about his time in prison and so on. Each document goes on to highlight specific
details about Gandhi’s mission in different ways.
Documents 2, 5, 8, 11 correspond to the actions and Dr. King himself. They
also each highlight or provide great detail on specific acts that the individual
completed, in this case Dr. King. Document 2 explains one of the acts/rally that Dr.
King organized and offers a picture and background on the act. The act was a nonviolent mission to integrate a bar at a local diner. Multiple people who were part of
this act were later imprisoned but were happy to be imprisoned for a greater cause
then themselves. Document 8 also explains how African American including Dr. King
were arrested for fighting for a greater cause them themselves.
Documents 3, 6, 9, 12 all correspond to Nelson Mandela in some way, shape,
or form. Each document includes little pieces of the life of Nelson Mandela and offers
a snapshot of Mr. Mandela returning to the cell that he was imprisoned in for the
better part of 27 years. Document 9 is the article that offers this image and a little
background information on the image.
Basically each one of these articles/documents all tie into one of the three
individuals highlighted in the articles. These documents all illustrate a specific act or
detail that this individual was a part of. A common trend within these articles is the
imprisonment of each of these three individuals standing up for and fighting for
their beliefs. Individual articles may offer specific facts about how long, or what
took place in prison but they all relate to prison in some way. Therefore this also
brings up a possible 4th point that you could add the list of reasons why non-violent
campaigns are successful. The possible 4th point could be that your leader needs to
be willing to give up everything in order to accomplish a greater goal. Each one of
the leaders highlighted in the articles did so, therefore my point is supported though
the past experiences of successful non-violent leaders.