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Teaching about Civil Disobedience: Clarifying a Recurring Theme in the Secondary Social Studies
J. SPENCER CLARK THOMAS S. VONTZ KRISTOFFER BARIKMO
ABSTRACT. In this article, the authors offer social studies educators a way to deepen students’ understanding of civil disobedience as a democratic and nonviolent means of instigating social change. The authors explore the concept of civil disobedience from a historical perspective and examine the justifications and ramifications of each historical example. In addition, they provide several examples of events that are often mistakenly categorized as civil disobedience. Through these examples, the authors develop a sound definition of the concept, while explaining its application to contemporary society. In actualizing the significance of civil disobedience in the secondary social studies classroom, the authors use five components: the historical importance of civil disobedience, the concept of civil disobedience,
J. SPENCER CLARK taught civics and world history for four years at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He recently started working on his PhD in curriculum studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. THOMAS S. VONTZ is an assistant professor and director of the Kansas State University Center for Social Studies Education. KRISTOFFER BARIKMO teaches U.S. history and civics at Notre Dame de Sion High School in Kansas City, Missouri.
the argument for civil disobedience, the argument against civil disobedience, and teaching about civil disobedience. They also incorporate civil disobedience into a lesson plan. Keywords: civil disobedience, democratic citizenship, history, social studies
peaking at his 2007 Ash Wednesday Mass in Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony warned that he would instruct his priests to defy federal legislation and provide assistance to any parishioner regardless of their citizenship status. This came after the House of Representatives passed an immigration bill including a provision that requires churches and other social organizations to ask immigrants for legal documentation before providing them assistance, and penalizing those institutions that fail to comply. Cardinal Mahony justifies his call for civil disobedience by appealling to a higher power: “Denying aid to a fellow human being violates a law with higher authority than Congress—the law of God” (Sullivan 2007). Cardinal Mahony, like other civil disobedients, is willing to allow his diocese to be penalized to cast light on what he perceives as a grave injustice.
Cardinal Mahony’s call to his clergy to disobey the law, however, is only one recent manifestation of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is a recurring theme in U.S. and world history. However, most students and citizens possess little or no understanding of civil disobedience; they do not fully understand what it is, how it has been used, or its relationship to democratic citizenship. This article takes a contemporary look at civil disobedience and explores its significance in the secondary social studies curriculum. The Importance of Civil Disobedience Historically, civil disobedience has been an effective method of influencing and ameliorating unjust laws. In 1849, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American War and the institution of slavery. Across the globe, Mohandas Gandhi refused to accept the race laws of South Africa and then moved to India to protest and openly defy unjust laws imposed by Great Britain. Rosa Parks defied law and custom in 1955 by refusing to leave her seat on a Montgomery bus, igniting the Civil Rights movement and initiating the Montgomery bus boycott led by
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these instances exemplify the civil disobedience concept and its role in a democratic society. The first type can be labeled as individual or moral civil disobedience. attempting to ameliorate unjust laws does not imply contempt for the law. The second type can be labeled as organized or social civil disobedience. adapted from Civitas: A Framework for Civic Education (Quigley and Bahmueller 1991).Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. clear. This involves an organized group of people openly. It is an act of nonviolent protest undertaken to alleviate some injustice. conscientious. intentionally. it is imperative that we help students not only understand their rights but also their responsibilities and obligations in a democracy. usually with an appeal to some higher principle or law. the citizen must disobey a law or established policy of the government. led by the Berrigan brothers. 14). despite repeated legal efforts to change unjust laws. Third. (629) To be considered an act of civil disobedience. explain the conditions that justify its use in a democracy. If the citizen did not publicly and deliberately disobey the law. and nonviolently breaks an unjust law. It is important to note that there are at least two types of civil disobedience (Quigley and Bahmueller 1991). As civil disobedience is not always justified in a democracy and is often 52 MARCH/APRIL 2008 The Concept of Civil Disobedience The phrase civil disobedience carries many definitions and interpretations. at their trial. the citizen would have to deliberately and publicly disobey the law. the following definition. in that he or she has an honest belief that his or her actions are intended to correct a grave injustice. the Catonsville Nine. Our goal should be to develop citizens who can look carefully at society. and collectively breaking an unjust law to achieve some political objective related to the reinstatement or preservation of justice (Quigley and Bahmueller). and use democratic means to solve public problems. when the government repeatedly fails to address an injustice. However. civil disobedience can be viewed as wholly consistent with democratic principles—even an act of patriotism. When the government fails. and nonviolent act that breaks a law in which the person accepts responsibility and punishment. First. we miss a great opportunity to teach students about the power of ordinary citizens if we do not include a study of civil disobedience. one must pay particular attention to the act’s characteristics. It is this obligation that has produced numerous examples of civil disobedience. obligated to disobey (sometimes) because of his membership in a smaller one—is. The warning was of no THE SOCIAL STUDIES . He taught young Athenian aristocrats to be critical of the Athenian democracy. the act must be nonviolent. when the poor can die without defense” (Berrigan 1970. when obedience can segregate men from public risk. and appropriate for the secondary social studies classroom: Civil disobedience is a deliberate. After all. otherwise the act would be considered another form of protest. it is the citizens’ responsibility to promulgate the injustice. promoting discriminatory or unjust laws or practices. defining civil disobedience is one of the greatest challenges of teaching it effectively. 42). The ruling powers of Athens were not pleased and warned Socrates to stop his teachings. very common in history and has often been fairly stable over long periods of time” (Walzer 1970. Finally. however. The citizen must be acting to serve the common good. As educators responsible for fostering democratic citizenship. All of these events ignited great controversy and cast light misunderstood by students and citizens. Most often the law that is being broken is considered unjust. however. while praising the rival oligarchy of Sparta. which disobeys the law in a violent manner. Thus. it is important for students to develop a fluency of its usage. Daniel Berrigan said. then he or she would have acted without a civic pur- pose and without seeking public recognition of the act. Clearly. Fourth. according to this definition. ask critical questions about issues. is defensible. “The time is past when good men can remain silent. As educators responsible for fostering democratic citizenship. intentionally. nonviolently. majorities sometimes make mistakes—unjust mistakes that persist. In May 1968. Historical Examples Socrates provided one of the first documented examples of civil disobedience in Western civilization. it is the citizens’ right and responsibility to intervene and work toward dismantling that law or practice. Furthermore. Students should be able to clearly define civil disobedience. Individual or moral civil disobedience is carried out by an individual citizen who openly. publicly burned draft records. Under certain conditions. Not all citizens actualize their citizenship in these ways. The summation of these types of civil disobedience is exemplified by the idea that “a man—obligated to obey because of his membership in a larger society. Second. we miss a great opportunity to teach students about the power of ordinary citizens if we do not include a study of civil disobedience. public. such as rioting. not his or her own self-interest. distinguish between civil disobedience and other acts of protest. As citizen educators. on unjust laws and policies. occasionally civil disobedients will break a just law in the hope of bringing attention to some perceived injustice (as in the case of Cardinal Mahony). and explore the consequences and benefits that might result from its use. the citizen must act conscientiously. the citizen must be willing to accept the consequences of his or her action. for all its tensions.
S. On December 1. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to make room for a white passenger. negotiation in an attempt to right the injustice. the colonists did not practice civil disobedience because they did not openly accept the consequences of their actions. civil disobedience is unique as a blatant and nonviolent act designed to break the law. Socrates continued his teaching and was tried. It is only justified after attempts to work within the system have failed. was called in to organize the general boycott. The essay stresses the importance of respecting the “right. That single act of civil disobedience inspired thousands. Although revolutions may rise up from demonstrations involving civil disobedience. King also exercised civil disobedience during the Civil Rights movement. founder of the Minuteman Project. the protestors infringed on Gilchrist’s free speech rights. Many also consider conscientious objection to be closely related to civil disobedience—however. 1955. He eloquently made his case in an essay that ironically never uses the term “civil disobedience. and direct action (Cohen and Fermon 1996. a group that patrols the U. Henry David Thoreau openly. concise. disguising themselves as Native Americans in the hope of avoiding any blame. however. on the other hand. many claimed this was an act of civil disobedience. and nonviolently refused to pay taxes to an American government that was at war with Mexico and supported the institution of slavery. Already reprimanded once before for not giving up her seat. Finally. King’s rationale and appeal to a higher law provide a clear. Lacking representation in Parliament. yet the protestors interfered with his speech. history (King 1993). Riots. one of the Platonic dialogues (Reeve 2002).” rather than respecting the “law. Alabama. the use of civil disobedience is justified. These differ in that civil disobedience is an overt act of nonviolent defiance that is designed to promulgate the injustice of particular laws or policies. He cited historical examples of civil disobedience to justify and reinforce his cause of changing unjust and discriminatory laws in the South. lack of respect for the law. and violence ensued. the colonists felt the tax on tea was unfair. An Argument for Civil Disobedience in a Democracy Correcting a moral injustice is the most common justification for practicing civil disobedience. Thoreau supports the importance of civil disobedience in our democratic society. There are several forms of protest that students may mistake for civil disobedience. When a person has been exposed to an unjust law and all attempts to change the law through legal means have failed. allowing the world to witness the city’s injustice. King’s letter. riots. Dr. The label conscientious objector describes someone recognized by a draft board who has sincere or deeply held beliefs that make him or her object to fighting in a war—therefore no law is broken. Civil disobedience is not justified as a principal means of correcting an injustice. it is clear that by favoring the rights and responsibilities of the individual. holding up banners and chanting to express their belief that his cause is racist and unjust. bringing inspiration and increased coverage to the new movement. is the preeminent outline and justification for civil disobedience in U. employing fundamental principles of democracy. She accepted this openly.Mexico border in an attempt to decrease illegal immigration.S. such as revolutions. students at New York’s Columbia University stormed a stage in protest during a speech made by Jim Gilchrist. his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King described an unjust law as a “human law that does not conform to higher or fundamental law. and sentenced to death for corrupting his students. it came to be known as “Civil Disobedience” (Thoreau 1969). More recently. Therefore. in Montgomery. a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is MARCH/APRIL 2008 53 THE SOCIAL STUDIES . highlights several characteristics of an unjust law in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail. in Alabama and throughout the United States and the world.” While Thoreau’s essay is less about civil disobedience than it is about the relationship of the individual to the state. He deliberately and openly disobeyed what he believed to be an unjust policy. any law that degrades personality. Martin Luther King Jr. and concrete example of the practice of civil disobedience.” Originally titled “Resistance to Civil Government” in 1849. Imprisoned for a peaceful and nonvio- lent protest in Birmingham. publicly. Having accepted the benefits of society. King provided citizens with a framework for nonviolent civil disobedience. he or she did not practice civil disobedience. if someone breaks the law in protest but does not accept the consequences. King argued for civil disobedience when efforts to change unjust laws from within the system failed repeatedly. and conscientious objections. Dr. the colonists who participated in the Boston Tea Party were protesting the Tea Act passed by the British Parliament. and violence. self-purification to ready yourself for conflict. Campus organizations sponsored Gilchrist’s appearance. while openly accepting the ultimate consequence—death. In protest they dumped a shipment of tea into Boston Harbor. their act resulted in violence. are not acts of civil disobedience as they are rooted in lawlessness. This was not her original act of defiance. 624). As a method of protest. He justifies and explains his actions in the Crito. it is not. he felt a moral obligation to be a good citizen and respect the principle of lawfulness even as he disobeyed an unjust law. In the aftermath. a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. For example. convicted. The taking of the stage provoked the Minuteman Project supporters to resist. they are violent.avail. Many historians mark this day as the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. he wrote that in any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to decide whether any injustices exist. Alabama. outlined a convincing justification for the use of civil disobedience to end racial injustice. As outlined from his jail cell. Rosa Parks was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance. and they were not willing to accept the punishment for their acts. Martin Luther King Jr.” written in 1963.
These arguments are often made with reference to one’s responsibilities as a citizen. 628) According to King. civil disobedience could introduce chaos and anarchy into society. That would lead to anarchy. which is not only a compelling justification for the practice of civil disobedience. He says. 95). . lovingly. 45) points out that when breaking the law is likely to bring about political change or to draw public attention to the law. one of the core principles of civil disobedience is that breaking what is perceived as an unjust law and willfully accepting the consequences is in fact an act of meaningful veneration for the law rather than a desperate and meaningless act. . it is a responsibility shared with other branches of government and with citizens. . The Center for Civic Education (1994) makes the study of civil disobedience part of a broader question in grades 9–12 by asking. moral. Citizens often feel helpless and resign themselves to the will of the majority. Historian Susan Neiburg Terkel (1996. Still. “How can citizens take part in civic life?” (135).” promoting lawlessness (Cohen 1971. 145). . there are many objections to its use in a democratic society. Whatever affects one indirectly. he argues that these acts are the ultimate contribution to the common good for all people in society. Instead.not binding on the majority. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. leading others to disobey what might be just laws. Martin Luther King Jr. . Critics argue that intentionally breaking a law establishes a dangerous precedent that may encourage other lawless acts. I cannot sit idly in Atlanta and not be concerned with what happens in Birmingham. One who breaks a law must do so openly. THE SOCIAL STUDIES . 54 MARCH/APRIL 2008 An Argument against Civil Disobedience Just as there are many endorsements of civil disobedience.e. 138. Civil disobedience is also a part of state frameworks Dr. in Cohen and Fermon 1996. active. The practice of civil disobedience is one of the ways average citizens may check the will of the majority in a democratic government. there is a clear reason to use civil disobedience as a vehicle for change. counters this objection best when he says. While on the surface there seems to be some validity to this argument. then the practice of civil disobedience is justified. This argument asserts that no act of civil disobedience can be morally justified because its very nature is immoral (i. and a code that is inflicted upon a minority that the minority had no involvement in creating” (King 1993). Under the section titled “Forms of Political Participation. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law. Rosa Parks. Carl Cohen (1971) presents several common objections against the practice of civil disobedience in a lawful and democratic society. King again refutes it eloquently. ultimately disrupting the social fabric. and [to] evaluate the circumstances under which it might be justified” (135–36). however. civil disobedients take the law into their own hands. Civil disobedience proposes to discredit the government. . In a further objection Cohen (1971) points out that “. In this way. King’s words eloquently refute the notion that acts of civil disobedience are based on self-interest. The rule of law is a foundational concept of democracy—a principle so fundamental that no argument can justify its suspension. in Terkel 1996. Perhaps Dr. which was the intent of Homer Plessy. Initiating social change is the first step in correcting a moral injustice. most often the courts. . In opposition. Breaking the law—under any circumstances—is not justified in a society that respects the rule of law. while encouraging them to develop an ardent reverence for the law. Martin Luther King Jr. affects all directly. what its consequences may be. Dr. Informed. (qtd. . to rule on a particular issue. civil disobedience supposes the primacy of selfish interests” (134). and responsible citizens are often the most powerful forces in a democracy. how it differs from other forms of protest. Civil disobedience is used to put the issue on trial in the court of public opinion and compel the government. Teaching about Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience is an essential component of any social studies course that strives to foster democratic citizenship. and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust. . or law that supersedes human law. . 131). While the Supreme Court is responsible for interpreting the Constitution. breaking the law is inherently immoral) and it supposes the superiority of the individual as opposed to social interests. If a citizen can make a compelling argument that the government through its laws or actions is breaking a moral or fundamental law and repeated attempts to correct the injustice through legal means have failed. . is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. The first and possibly most frequent objection is that “civil disobedience implies contempt for the law” and undermines the rule of law (Cohen 1971. . . but also a strong argument for its role in the secondary social studies curriculum.” The Center for Civic Education asks students to “explain what civil disobedience is. despite the concept of natural law. in Cohen and Fermon 1996.. or natural law. Teaching students about civil disobedience in this manner gives them an opportunity to learn about a means of nonviolent citizen action. Mohandas Gandhi held this view: “Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good” (qtd. as a fundamental component of modern democracy. some view intentionally breaking an unjust law and accepting the consequences as showing an uncompromising respect for the rule of law. maintaining vigilance in the perpetuation of a just government to which they have bestowed their consent. commonly perceiving the Supreme Court as the sole check on unjust laws established by the majority and the only interpreter of the Constitution. I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. (qtd. 624) One final objection dwells in the discomfort that “. the difficulty remains in attempting to define fundamental. and Dr. and with a willingness to accept the penalty.
March 27. Small group activity: • Break the class into five groups and assign each group one of the scenarios below. 1. By the end of the lesson. Terkel.dese. M. L. the California Department of Education (1998). • the civil disobedience is likely to cast light on some injustice. Cohen. or higher law). freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial. Walzer. M. Martin Luther King Jr. and if Dr. inspired by Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedience. have five students write their answers on the board.cde. and economic rights of citizens?” (2) “What are the personal and civic responsibilities of citizens?” and (3) “When do civic obligations imply that personal desires and interests be subordinated to the public good?” (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 1996. had never employed civil disobedience to fuel the civil rights movement. for example. In preparation for the activity. 1996.pdf (accessed December 8.” is this valid? Why or why not? • In your opinion. and N..? Why? 2. Prior to the lesson have the students read “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Students will also be able to examine and apply the principles of Dr. Ask the students to consider the type of law by which each situation is considered unjust (civil law.asp (accessed December 8. D.ca. NJ: Princeton University Press. CA: Center For Civic Education.S. and paying a $100 voter registration fee. 2006). 1971. state and national authority in a federal system. 1998. History–social science content standards: Principles of American democracies and economies. Martin Luther King Jr. C. NY: Hartwick Humanities in Management Institute.gov/divimprove/ curriculum/frameworks/ss4complete. The trials of Socrates: Six classic texts. D. 1970. Martin Luther King Jr. N. Ask the students to explain why each situation is considered unjust. IN: Hackett. http://www. S.gov/be/st/ ss/hstgrade12. M. Explain civil law. R. Sullivan. 1993. Boston: D. M.. MA: Harvard University Press. Reeve. reiterate that civil disobedience is justified when • civil/human law does not conform to higher or moral law. political. Civitas: A framework for civic education. if Rosa Parks had given up her seat. In its California History–Social Science Standards. and C. D. http://www. • repeated attempts to work within the public policy have failed. natural law. 2006). tactics. Thoreau. liberty and equality. and explain when its use is justified in a democracy. war. and citizenship.? • What are other possible modes of protest Dr. The Missouri Curriculum Guide for the Social Studies. 6. N. Martin Luther King Jr. CA: Center for Civic Education. if Mohandas Gandhi. a sample lesson plan is included that could supplement a unit in which civil disobedience plays an important role. Jr. REFERENCES APPENDIX A SAMPLE LESSON: TEACHING CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE Berrigan. Cambridge. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr. 1991. New York Times. Write three situations on the board. When discussing the situation of “paying a $100 voter registration fee. Civil disobedience is an important part of state standards even when the term is not mentioned explicitly. C. National standards for civics and government. distinguish between just and unjust laws? • When Dr. Calabasas. the relationship of religion and government.” Oneonta. for example. Our brief examination of several leading U. Princeton. • Each group has the task of determining whether its scenario is a case of civil disobedience and is justified in a democracy. Calabasas. distinguish civil disobedience from other types of protest. natural law. 2007. and the law. New York: Columbia University Press. C. Civil disobedience: Conscience. C. New York: Lodestar Books. MARCH/APRIL 2008 55 THE SOCIAL STUDIES . while helping them appreciate and understand the responsibilities of democratic citizenship. Martin Luther King Jr. 1994. and prepare answers to the following questions: • What is civil disobedience? • What justifications for using civil disobedience are given by Dr. Letter to the editor. Indianapolis. such as the following: killing someone. Obligations: Essays on disobedience. King. D. Civil disobedience. Center for Civic Education. stealing a CD from a store. 5. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The trial of the Catonsville Nine. Students should be given several opportunities during their precollegiate education to explore civil disobedience in depth. Civil disobedience is an important and often misunderstood concept. had listened when he was told to “wait”.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail. Bahmueller. Princeton readings in political thought. and • it is carried out in a nonviolent way and the lawbreaker accepts responsibility and punishment. 2002. 1996. history and government textbooks suggests that teachers may need to use supplementary resources in teaching civil disobedience.’s “Letter from Birmingham jail.. Martin Luther King Jr. Quigley. in appendix A. Discuss the assigned questions concerning the “Letter from Birmingham Jail. eds. 1996.for social studies.” A list of further reading is given in appendix B. A comprehensive understanding of civil disobedience will allow students to place important historical events in context. does not mention the concept specifically. F. 1970. writes.” ask how this could be deemed just at one point in history and unjust at present under civil law? What was the process by which this shift happened? 4. California Department of Education. Boston: Beacon Press. but civil disobedience is certainly a part of questions such as the following: (1) “What are the personal.” For each question. 1969. students will be able to define civil disobedience. civil disobedience and the rule of law. Cohen. Fermon. states: Students formulate questions about and defend their analyses of tensions within our constitutional democracy and the importance of maintaining a balance between the following concepts: majority rule and individual rights. and higher law. Martin Luther King. Compare their answers and use this as the basis for discussion of the essay. Godine. 136). Jr. How do the lives of individuals and conditions in society affect each other? Missouri’s framework for curriculum development in social studies. Therefore. what portion do you find most meaningful in the letter from Dr. Has each situation always been considered unjust? 3. People power: A look at nonviolent action and defense.mo. could have used? • How does Dr. H. Martin Luther King Jr. It is hard to imagine what our country or world would be like if Henry David Thoreau had not protested the MexicanAmerican War and the expansion of slavery in refusing to pay his poll tax.
The resident decides one night to steal the stop sign in protest without anyone knowing. J. a group of four African American men walks into a restaurant. • Discuss the situation of Cardinal Mahony and the justifications for his actions. and J. Rawls. M. Allow the class to discuss each other’s decisions and justifications. A resident of the neighborhood who travels the road every day finds the new stop sign very annoying and unnecessary. Davis. Civil disobedience and democracy. 1999. he did not issue it. E. Boston: McGraw-Hill. The protester states that he was right in taking two lives because he saved hundreds in the process and accepts his punishment. Montreal: Black Rose Books.. 1975. The protester is immediately arrested. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. The owner believes that this embargo is wrong. Fernlund. trades with a country that is faced with an international trade embargo issued by the United States. • A town repaves a neighborhood road and puts in new sidewalks. 1972.. and P. 56 MARCH/APRIL 2008 THE SOCIAL STUDIES . the predominately African American town breaks into riots. MA: Harvard University Press. 1998. APPENDIX B FURTHER READING Bay. J. Civics: Participating in our democracy. DC: National Council for the Social Studies. Twenty-seven people are arrested on various charges. In the process the town put a new stop sign at a threeway stop. in the 1960s. C. • In the south. American Government. There was not any noticeable increase in traffic. Closing activity: • Ask the students to think of any laws or school policies today that might warrant acts of civil disobedience. 1994. J. its windows are shattered and the building is set on fire. A. 1999. Scenarios: • An anti-abortion protester shoots and kills two doctors that perform abortions. Collected papers. New York: The Free Press. National Council for the Social Studies. American history: A survey. If it is not civil disobedience. 7. Five minutes later the four men are escorted out of the restaurant by police. New York: Addison-Wesley. and therefore it does not apply to him. who imports 90 percent of the goods he sells. The man is arrested and fined. J.. Wilson. and rumor of four African American men being beaten and dragged from a restau- rant. they must explain why to the rest of the class. Washington. and C.” Despite heckling. while comparing it with the incident at Columbia University. which had previously never had any stop signs. Q. Walker. M. the men sit down. The focal point of the riots is the restaurant. • A small-business owner. • Have each group share their decisions and justifications as to whether the lawbreaker was justified in each scenario. The four men are charged with trespassing. disregarding the sign that says “Whites only. Expectations of excellence: Curriculum standards for social studies. The owner challenges the charges. The owner states that he is not willing to allow people of that country to suffer because the United States decides to stop all trade with that country because of that country’s pursuit of nuclear technology. The protester shot the doctors on their way into an abortion clinic and in front of thirty protesters.• The students should use the definition and justifications derived from the discussion of King’s letter to determine if their scenario is a legitimate case of civil disobedience. saying that he has nothing against the country. Civil disobedience: Theory and practice. Dilulio Jr. 1991. • Following the arrest of. Cambridge. Zashin. Brinkley. E. C. charging of.