College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Mentor

Natalie Cisneros

Faculty Editor

Kendall Fisher

Student Editor

Caroline Craighead


This essay analyzes Thomas Aquinas’ justification for civil disobedience via his theory of law. This will be accomplished by discussing Aquinas’ conception of the four types of law and what conditions must be met for him to support the use of civil disobedience. Using these conditions, the essay will then examine recent demonstrations and protests to see if modern civil disobedience is Thomistically justifiable. I will finish the discussion with an in-depth examination of the civil disobedience argument used by the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials and draw conclusions as to whether Aquinas would have supported this argument. The thesis asserts that civil disobedience is not only just, but required in the instances of unjust law. This has far-reaching consequences in the present, as acts of civil disobedience have increased in force since the 2016 election.