CLIO 7 (1) - page 45

cause. Most importantly, crime and the law de-
pend on the country and Nelson Mandela’s story
proves that. Acts such as protesting and crossing a
country’s border would be perfectly legal in most
countries but that was not the case in South Africa.
The French Revolution proves that it can be right to
commit a crime, as the outcome is positive and is
an improvement from before. Of course crime does
not always have to be carried out and events such
as the 20th Century civil rights movement prove
this, but when one is faced with an opponent who
either ignores the mass of the people or use force
instead of reason, a decision to commit a crime is
the right choice.
Finally, within already existing func-
tioning democracies, to break the law for the pur-
pose of change would just be breaking the law, and
neither necessary nor particularly revolutionary.
Assuming that it is a functioning democracy, it will
include mechanisms for addressing any injustices
which might arise through elections or the legal
system. Therefore, to address these injustices, the
first course of action must be through the dem-
ocratic system put in place by the democracy for
example: making legal changes to segregation or
empowering a politician who supports and forwards
the elimination of such injustices. If those systems
are not in place however, then there could be an
argument for breaking clearly unjust laws, in order
to protest against such injustices (i.e. Rosa Parks
refusing to give her seat for a white man on a bus
during the civil rights movement). However, any
such lawbreaking must surely not either hurt other
citizens or put them in a worse position than those
who are suffering from the injustices are, such as
with the American civil rights movement. If those
laws are at least not broken in a way which refrains
from doing harm to others, the injustice is not
eliminated from the democracy, it is just passed on
the population negatively affected by the violent
Sam Sherrington andWilliamWalford 11D
‘Plundering the King’s Cellar at Paris’ by Johann
Zoffany (1795)
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