Gandhi, King, and Mandela What Made Non-Violence Work?

In the Twentieth Century, the great leaders Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. all used non-violence to bring about change to their respective countries. What made nonresistance work was the charisma of the leaders to persuade the people to not fight back, the peaceful protests, the leaders’ willingness to accept their punishments, and their struggle for unity. In order for non-violence to work, people have to be non-violent. Each of these leaders were so powerful that they convinced even aggressive people to fight by not fighting.
In Mandela’s case, he viewed nonresistance as the only way to bring democracy to everyone in South Africa because the government was many times more powerful than the movement (document 3). If Mandela had used violence, his people would have been hopelessly crushed and would remain oppressed. Martin Luther King persuaded all volunteers to give up all possible weapons before going to protest (document 5). He convinced the volunteers that all they needed to have was the ideology that they were right. Gandhi wrote a letter to Lord Irwin stating that if something is not done about the injustice of the British, he would lead a protest on the Salt Laws (document 1).
Gandhi gathered volunteers and taught the importance of life. Nonresistance worked so well because the peaceful protests gave off such a powerful message. Mandela campaigned for volunteers to not retaliate even when they are being attacked (document 6). He convinced people fighting back would ultimately lead to their failure. King took part in counter sit-ins where black people peacefully protested segregated lunch counters (document 1). The peace of the movement showed how extreme and hateful the majority of white people were at the time. After Gandhi was arrested, one Englishman documented Mme. Naidu leading a peaceful protest that lead to hundreds of people getting beat without flinching a muscle (document 4).

The cruelty was so great that even the Englishman had to turn away from the gross and sickening display. One of the key factors that made non-violence work was that the leaders openly accepted their punishments. Gandhi did not hesitate to go to jail, where he spent 2,338 days total (document 7). King noted that people rushed down to the police station to be arrested in the Montgomery bus boycott (document 8). He himself was arrested 37 times and jailed 14 times. Nelson Mandela discussed with other officials what would happen if they received the death sentence (document 9). He was prepared to die knowing that he would inspire more people to fight for democracy.
Finally, non-violence worked because the leaders all made an effort to unify their country. After the British became more violent, Gandhi tried to appease the British by protesting with peace (document 10). Salt on the Lion’s tail represents Gandhi’s effort to pacify the British. Martin Luther King addressed in his speech that he would like to see white and black people integrate together without hatred (document 11). In this perspective, King is a hero for all of America by unifying it regardless of skin color. Mandela discovered in prison that he wanted freedom for all people in South Africa (document 12).
When both sides stand together, everyone wins in the battle for democracy. Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. are all incredible people who stood up for social equality. Through non-violent ways, they lead the world to become a greater place. They all persuaded their people to peacefully protest and to not resist their attackers. They all also sacrificed to unify their country and gladly suffered the consequences of doing so.

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