Throughout history, events that were caused by questioning authority have been some of the highest victories of the people. Even in Democracy, where portions of the government are being run by the people, there are many circumstances that citizens investigate the power of the union. You can also point to several other significant events such as the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 that have demonstrated this idea. They both show how people react when societies and nations are fed up with the way rulers are ruling. But overall, questioning authority is necessary because it increases participation in government, creates more just societies and decreases class division. The widely known English philosopher, John Locke, had many pieces of work surrounding the concept of rebellion and questioning authority in a democracy. More specifically in his writing, the Second Treatise of Government, he focuses in on the reasons why people would defy a government.
He says, “If a long train of abuses, prevarication, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going… they should then rouse themselves, and endeavor to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was first erected”. Locke explains that when people finally see the long train of abuses or the repetitive wrongdoings of the government, they can examine it, and ultimately rebel to return the society to how it was originally supposed to run. He also adds on that those who do not rebel are those who do not feel oppressed by a government. Appropriately the concepts of Locke would also greatly increase if and how often citizens participate in the government that controls them. One instance where Locke’s ideas occurred was the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. The Sepoy soldiers of the British East India company felt a long train of abuses from the British government that was now controlling their homeland, India. They felt that the British were trying to convert them to Christianity by putting sacred animal fat on gun cartridges, insulting their religion on the streets of their cities and making no effort whatsoever to respect their languages and culture. A sepoy discussed what he thought the higher officers were trying to do, he said, “.
.. the great aim of the English was to turn us all into Christians and they had therefore introduced the cartridge in order to bring this about, since we would be defiled by using it.
” The Sepoys were disgusted by what the British were doing, so they revolted, just as John Locke had discussed. Even though the rebellion was not successful, it did threaten the extremely powerful government of Britain to include the Indian people more in their own government and to create a more just society ultimately. A final example of questioning authority is the thoughts of Karl Marx. He lived during the Industrial Revolution and believed that the events of that time enriched the wealthy class and impoverished the poor. Marx expanded on the idea of rebellion by introducing a revolution of the working class. The people in the lower class during the Industrial Revolution suffered extreme separation from the other classes as a result of how quickly the world was changing at the time. The government couldn’t accommodate for them because they were too caught up in money and the growing economy. Karl Marx believed that the people had nowhere to move, but up, he said “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite.” He believes that if the people questioned the authority that was restraining them, then the possibilities were endless and someday class separation would substantially decline. Even in the modern world, where many governments have significantly increased input from the population, it is still critical to question authority. In the free country of the United States, the current president, and many of his predecessors before him have received backlash from most of their decisions, but that is what makes the American society thrive. The people’s capability to participate in their government and investigate their union helps address problems such as class division, and subsequently create a better country. Over time other countries have learned from this idea and hopefully more are to learn too and create a better, more equitable world.