Muhammad Ali

By: Jordan Mathews, Period 5

Muhammad Ali is known as one of the greatest boxers of all time, and has won three heavyweight championship titles and a gold medal in the Olympics. He was born in 1942 and was known by almost every american by the 1970's. His fame did not come from his boxing career alone, his refusal to join the Vietnam War was arguably his greatest fight.
Muhammad Ali on the Vietnam War-Draft

Connection to "Civil Disobedience"

Muhammad Ali was already known for his sports accomplishments, but his refusal to enter the draft for the Vietnam War gave him popularity in politics. One man that would have been behind Ali's decision was Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau is the author of "Civil Disobedience" where he makes it clear that he is intensely against following an immoral government. Thoreau proclaims "Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation?" meaning that a citizen should not be forced to go against their conscience by a government. That is exactly how Muhammad Ali approached his induction into the Army, and he resisted the government's immoral rule because of his own beliefs and conscience. Thoreau also states "Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them" or that the average man is afraid to stand alone against a law that in unjust. Ali stands out because of his firm argument against the war, before the rest of the country discovered the wrongs of the war. Ali possesses the qualities that Thoreau discussed in "Civil Disobedience" and used them against the American government.