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"While Walden can be applied to almost anyone's life, "Civil Disobedience" is like a venerated architectural landmark: it is preserved and admired, and sometimes visited, but for most of us there are not many occasions when it can actually be used. Still, although seldom mentioned without references to Gandhi or King, "Civil Disobedience" has more history than many suspect. In the 1940's it was read by the Danish resistance, in the 1950's it was cherished by those who opposed McCarthyism, in the 1960's it was influential in the struggle against South African apartheid, and in the 1970's it was discovered by a new generation of anti-war activists. The lesson learned from all this experience is that Thoreau's ideas really do work, just as he imagined they would."
Using wikis, students will create webpages that follow the events of extraordinary people who have used civil disobedience as a movement against an important issue of their time. Groups of students from several English classes will create an informational website (like Wikipedia) that records the individual's act of disobedience and publish information about the background of the event that took place and other topics around that event or person.
Part One: Exploring Historical Events
Students will be assigned one of the periods below and focus on people and events from that time.
Part Two: Creating a Personal Act of Civil Disobedience
You are a political activist like Thoreau, Gandhi and King and recount your own experience after breaking what you consider an unjust law or rule. Each person in your group will select a person from the time period you worked on in part one and create a separate web page about that person. Use the time period you studied in part one and reflect upon this experience in journal form using the following questions as a guide:
· What policy or law am I protesting and why?
· How am I choosing to passively resist? What are my methods?
· Am I alone in this act or part of an organization?
· What could be (or are) the consequences of my action, both positive and negative?
· How do others, including my family and peers, view the act I am committing?
· What are my motivations for committing the act?
· What was achieved by the act? Did I receive publicity, recognition, or notoriety?
· What was the experience like as a whole?
· Was breaking the law or rule worth what was accomplished?
Report of Edits a
What is Studied
1920's Gandhi's campaigns for independence from the British Empire
1940's Danish Resistance
1960's South African apartheid
Civil Rights Movement in the USA
1970's American Anti-war activists
1980's The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia
2000's Cindy Sheehan's crusade against war.
Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion of state power.
2010: Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's release from ho
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