Martin Luther was a German priest and a person who initiated the Protestant Reformation. Though he was also known for his antisemitic claims which turned out to be controversial for his reputation, Martin Luther contributed greatly to the political and social changes that began in Germany and spread all over the world. The first change that can be seen as the first step to liberation of people from the power of Pope and the Roman church is the translation of the Bible into German.
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The thing is that the Bible was read and understood only by people that knew the Latin language whereas the interpretation of it was in accordance with the principles, goals, and intentions of the church and the Pope. In other words, social movement that began after translation and spread of the German variant of the Bible can be seen as the positive change that made people aware of what they can do according to the words of God reported in the Bible.
It also notable that no one actually questioned whether the variant suggested by Martin Luther was authentic and adequate in terms of the equivalents in Latin and competence of this priest to interpret the Bible while being completely involved into the dispute between him and the clerical powers of Rome and Germany.
So, it is questionable whether he translated the Bible into German so that people could interpret it in their own way or he translated the Bible using his own subjective understanding of the Holy Writ making people take it for granted.
The second contribution by Martin Luther into the political and social changes was his initiation of the Protestant Reformation. Liberty of people was first reached through the translation of the Bible to make the universal truth more available for ordinary people rather than limited for the rich men only.
As reported by Mullet (2004), “…the Reformation was coming to be seen as a beginning and specifically as an overture to broadening human liberty” (p. 258). In other words, liberation of people and their empowerment in terms of knowledge was the main change achieved by this German priest though he was antisemitic and had no right to spread his ideas in the framework of a conflict.
In other words, he had to introduce his position in a way that does not raise any controversies whereas he and his views were full of controversies and questionable ideas. Finally, his actions led to political and social changes in Germany and Europe though this was also a matter of long struggle against the church.
The United States leaders can be seen as a group of people who knew what they wanted and considered it possible to achieve because the laws were new for this country and it was easier to alter them.
However, it took many years for Martin Luther King, Jr. to achieve positive changes in the perception of black people by whites and vice versa as discrimination was mutual in that case. In other words, it is necessary to evaluate the activity of Martin Luther King, Jr. in terms of the political and social changes that could be traced in the United States.
The first action or, it is better to refer to it as, a chain of actions is the activity of Martin Luther King, Jr. against racial discrimination and segregation towards black population of the United States of America. One of the notable cases of segregation on the buses and struggle against it was the “Claudette Colvin case [that] had come to sparking a challenge to segregation on the buses, since she was the only person to be charged under the city segregation ordinance and… to plead ‘not guilty’ in court” (Kirk, 2005, p. 13).
Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most active supporters of non-segregation policy and he contributed greatly to release of Claudette Colvin. In other words, the activity of this Baptist priest was aimed at having an active position of a citizen who strives for changing the situation in a peaceful way making it possible for many people to change their lives and social status without being harmed in a conflict.
Another social change was the aggressive attitude of the black people against the whites and vice versa. Special rise of such attitude was given by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. who tried to achieve non-segregation and non-discrimination in a peaceful way.
As suggested by Elbaum (2002), many black people wanted to join a rather radical movement of Black Panthers after assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. because they saw that a peaceful way of making deals does not lead to any positive changes. As such, aggressive attitude of black people is the result of actions by Martin Luther King, Jr. or, to tell it clearly, the result of his failure in achieving the goal.
Elbaum, M. (2002). What Legacy from the Radical Internationalism of 1968? History Is a Weapon. Retrieved from http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/elbaum.html
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Kirk, J. A. (2005). Martin Luther King Jr. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Mullett, M. A. (2004). Martin Luther. New York, NY: Routledge.