Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance. In its most nonviolent form (known as ahimsa or satyagraha) it could be said that it is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement.
Civil disobedience has been used in many well-documented nonviolent resistance movements in India (Gandhi's social welfare campaigns and campaigns for independence from the British Empire), in South Africa in the fight against apartheid, in the American Civil Rights Movement, and in peace movements worldwide. One of its earliest massive implementations was by Egyptians against the British occupation in the nonviolent 1919 Revolution.
The American author Henry David Thoreau pioneered the modern theory behind this practice in his 1849 essay Civil Disobedience, originally titled "Resistance to Civil Government". The driving idea behind the essay was that of self-reliance, and how one is in morally good standing as long as one can "get off another man's back"; so one doesn't have to physically fight the government, but one must not support it or have it support one (if one is against it). This essay has had a wide influence on many later practitioners of civil disobedience. In the essay, Thoreau explained his reasons for having refused to pay taxes as an act of protest against slavery and against the Mexican-American War. (Quote from wikipedia.org)
About the Author
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862; born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, and philosopher who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple livin