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Political Protest in a Democracy

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 11 months ago

Image from World Future Fund

Topics on the Page


Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nonviolence


What is Political Protest?


Forms of Political Protest


Historical Examples of Political Protest


  • The Boston Tea Party


  • Movements for Civil Rights










Contemporary Examples of Political Protest



Link to Antiwar Literature and Protest Songs


Link to Special Topic page:  Youth Activists and Change Makers



Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nonviolence


The rise of Indian nationalism and nonviolence under Gandhi's influence




Martin Luther King Jr.'s Principles of Nonviolence



Nonviolence and Racial Justice, Martin Luther King, Jr., February 6, 1957  


American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, along with Australian Peter Norman,

during the award ceremony of the 200 m race at the 1968 Mexican Olympic games


Nonviolent Resistance, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University 



Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and the Power of Nonviolence, EDSITEment 



"A Dream" Music Video by Common



Committing to Nonviolence:  A Lesson from Viva La Causa, Teaching Tolerance



The Civil Rights Movement:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History



Focus Question: What is the role of political protest in a democracy?



What is Political Protest?


political protest is demonstration done by a group of like minded people for a collective interest.


They are usually against a cause of concern and would demonstrate different ways to express their disapproval to address injustices in the political system.


The role of the political protest is to express concerns for certain actions passed by the government and to enriched others of this knowledge on why the protest is being held and what needs to be stopped.


  Link here for a video from CBS News that explains what is a political protest and examines the powers of it.


  • examples of political protests throughout U.S history
  • examples of different kinds of protests



Link to Defining Protest and Protest Events, an article that defines what protests and protest events are



What causes does Political Protests fight for?


Some examples of these causes people fight for are: 

  • LGBTQIA Rights
  • Women's Rights
  • Gun Control
  • Equal Rights for all races (Civil Rights)
    • Black Lives Matter and other variations 
  • Climate Change 


Link here for a lesson plan on political protest. 

  • it shows that nonviolent protests are more effective to show their cause than violent protests 



Washington police attempting to remove Bonus Army marchers from federal property

July 28, 1932


Forms of Political Protest 


There are two forms of Political Protest: Nonviolent and Violent


Nonviolent - Using peaceful methods to bring about political change


Examples of nonviolent methods of protest

  • petitions
  • strikes
  • boycotts
  • rally 
  • march



Violent - Using aggressive methods to bring about political change 


Examples of violent methods of protest

  • acts of terrorism
  • destruction of property
  • bodily harm 
  • riots 


Link here for a Prezi presentation on nonviolent vs violent protests



Historical Examples of Political Protest


10 Facts about U.S. Protests in History, UC Press Blog 


How to Read a Protest:  The Art of Organizing and Resistance.  L. A. Kaufman (University of California Press, 2018)  



Eleven Times When Americans Have Marched in Protest on Washington, Smithsonian (January 17, 2017)



The Boston Tea Party - December 16, 1773

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest that occurred in Boston, Massachusetts.



  Link to Massachusetts in the American Revolution



American colonists were frustrated at Britain for imposing new taxation laws over the past decade.


This was the first instance of defiance from the American colonists to the British that triggered the American Revolution.


The new taxation law that caused this protest to happened was the Tea Act of 1773, and it imposed heavy taxes on tea.


This angered many American colonists, and as a result was the Boston Tea Party, which many  Boston inhabitants went on ships at night and dumped tea into the harbor.


  • The Boston Tea Party was a violent political protest because it used destruction of property to say they were unhappy with the British Government.
  • The Sons of Liberty was a group of merchants and tradesmen that planned out this event


  Link here for a video on the history of the Boston Tea Party as a song parody of Pharrell Williams' song Happy

  • This song sings the whole event of the Boston Tea Party with the causes and effects of the event




The Civil Rights Movement is a political movement that used nonviolent methods of protesting in hopes of achieving their goal for equal rights for African American people.


  Link to Accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement


  • The Civil Rights Movement used many nonviolent methods of protests to get their ideas through congress to pass the Civil Rights Acts of 1964.


The Bus in Which Rosa Parks Refused to Give Up Her Seat



    • Boycotts as in the Montgomery Bus Boycott during which people would boycotted the uses of the bus system in Montgomery, Alabama for over a year.


    • This led to the Supreme Court ruling that segregated seats are unconstitutional.  


    • Peaceful marches were used to demonstrated  why they were marching for. An example of a march in the civil rights movement was the March on Washington 


 Link here for a video on why the Civil Rights Movement was so successful because they used nonviolent strategies to demonstrate their cause.


Link here for a video on the crash course of the Civil Rights movement 



Link here to a link of 12 famous protests that changed history



Contemporary Examples of Political Protest



 Women's March 2017 in Washington DC

Women's March is a political protest that is held in Washington DC and throughout the world that tries to advocate for humans rights.


This includes women's rights, immigration reforms, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and other issues.


The cause of this protest was because of Donald Trump's statements that many people thought was anti-woman, and this was after his first full day of Presidency after his inauguration.


  • The Women's March used a peaceful method of protesting for their cause by demonstrating a march and rally.


  • This march is usually held every year in January, as the first march in 2017 was January 21; in 2019 it was held on January 19.



March for Our Lives is a political protest and movement that was a student-led demonstration in support of stronger gun violence prevention measures.


The cause for this protest was because of the Parkland School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, which many people believed that it was finally time to address the issues of Gun Control.


Many schools have faced similar school shooting problems like Sandy Hook incident and Columbine shooting.



  This YouTube video explains the timeline of the event that led to the March For Our Lives protest.


  • March for Our Lives used peaceful methods of protest, for examples rallies and marches in across the U.S, to advocate the ideas of preventing the misuses of guns by enacting stricter gun laws.


  • Link here for a news article about Students leading huge rallies for gun control across the U.S


  • Many students from the Parkland School shooting came to Washington DC to talk about the incident and spread the word of needing stronger gun control in the U.S on March 24, 2018.


  • Link here for a YouTube video that shows that celebrities are supporting for this movement and hope that their appearance will help sustain this movement of protest.




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