Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal of a citizen to obey certain laws, demands, orders or commands of a government (or any other authority). By some definitions, civil disobedience has to be nonviolent to be called "civil". Hence, civil disobedience is sometimes equated with peaceful protests or nonviolent resistance.
Henry David Thoreau's essay Resistance to Civil Government, published posthumously as Civil Disobedience, popularized the term in the US, although the concept itself has been practiced longer before. It has inspired leaders such as Susan B. Anthony of the U.S. women's suffrage movement in the late 1800s, Saad Zaghloul in the 1910s culminating in Egyptian Revolution of 1919 against British Occupation, and Mahatma Gandhi in 1920s India in their protests for Indian independence against the British Raj. Martin Luther King Jr.'s and James Bevel's peaceful protests during the civil rights movement in the 1960s United States contained important aspects of civil disobedience. Although civil disobedience is rarely justifiable in court, King regarded civil disobedience to be a display and practice of reverence for law: "Any man who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community on the injustice of the law is at that moment expressing the very highest respect for the law."