Understanding the Concept of Moral Law in Relation to Martin Luther King’s Life


Understanding the Concept of Moral Law

It is over fifty years since Martin Luther King died. His memory as a transformational leader has been carried through generation after generation through movies, text books and television shows. King can not only be described as a compelling speaker but also a philosophical intellectual that was able to help the society understand the importance of equality and diversity. King stood for what he believed was rights and he introduced the concept of protest as a defence mechanism against injustice. King is a leader who is remembered throughout the world as an agent of change as he helped bring to light the issue of racism in America. It is through his protests that policies were changed and transformed to help include the minorities in decision making processes such as voting Martin Luther King may be gone, but he is still the most quoted leader in the history of America. King was a moral leader, a leader who fought to ensure that the minority were give equal rights.

The justice of an action is important and determining its accuracy in regard on whether it is moral or just a human made based law is very important. Kant arguments on human morality illustrates that as long as human decisions and actions are good to them and to others, then they are moral (Klaudat, 2019). Kant further argues that good in morality is a moral virtue that goes hand in hand with human happiness. Kant basically argues that for one to be happy, he or she must be virtuously moral, though there are moments when one’s morals virtues may not lead to his or her happiness (Klaudat, 2019).

The arguments by Kant on human morality greatly help to support the actions of Martin Luther King and his speech ‘I have a dream’. King in his letter criticizes injustice in the world and goes ahead to criticize the constitution arguing that it is not fairly structured.  In his speech King says “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note that all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (King, 2017). In this quote, King tries to illustrate that the creators of the constitution lied to the people, by inciting them with sweet words making the constitution to look perfect and they have not fulfilled their promises making them the immoral ones.

The leaders that helped come up with the constitution were not concerned about the people when they created it, but rather on their own selfish needs and this in relation to Kant’s views are immoral individuals. King believed that a moral leader is one that leads by example and one who is willing to commit to his promises and also sacrifice for the good of his people (Wolfson, 2003). King in his speech criticizes the constitution, which was created with the view that everyone would be given equal opportunities. King speaks against racism, where the black people are not given equal treatment with the white people. King supports law-breaking when the law is not fair for everyone. King considers the law to be unfair and illustrates that it is not democratically structured if the minorities are not given a chance to vote or even voice their views.

In respect to Kant’s argument on human morality, the actions by King were morally upright. King was trying to fight for the rights of the minority by speaking his mind on the issues he thought the government was unfair about. King in his speech and letters does not in any way disrespect any person or break any laws. King aired his thoughts through peaceful protests; the only crime that he committed was trying to educate his people about their rights as U.S citizens. King was selfless in his protest against the unfair constitution, his main interest was just to try and ensure that the rights of the minority were looked into (Wolfson, 2003). But in respect to Kant’s views, King cannot be really condemned to be immoral because his actions were for the good of others.

 According to Kant, the consequences of a country cannot be used to define the personality of an individual and define whether a person is upright or wicked (Klaudat, 2019). What should be used to review whether an individual is upright or wicked is the motivation behind his actions. In the case of King, he committed the immoral acts because he was determined to have equal rights for everyone in America. King was willing to stand by his believes and he was willing to sacrifice himself to ensure that the minority were given equal rights, which makes him deserving moral leader.  A leader who was moved by the needs of the people and he fought to ensure that his believes and dreams were fulfilled. He helped change the mind-set of the American society, helped them see the animosity in the unfair policies against the minority.













Klaudat, A. (2019). Prudence, Happiness and Wisdom in Kant’s Moral Philosophy: the case

in the Groundwork. Studia Kantiana, 17(1), 85–99. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=138784624&site=ehost-live

King, J. . M. L. (2017). I Have a Dream Speech. I Have a Dream (Primary SourDocument),

1–3. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=21213403&site=ehost-live

Wolfson, A. (2003). The Martin Luther King we remember. Public Interest, (152), 39.

Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=10044946&site=ehost-live

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