When Government is in the Wrong
Brian Gongol

Some apparent abuses of government authority and power are defended with the old saw, "If you're not doing anything wrong, then you don't have anything to be worried about." That argument is patently inadequate, since it assumes that government is always in the right. To serve as counterexample, below are some instances of when governments of all types have been in the wrong. In many of these cases, what was ethically right for the individual to do was illegal because the government was in the wrong.

United States

Harriet Tubman guided slaves to freedom as part of the Underground Railway in the 1850s, despite the Fugitive Slave Act which obligated police and private citizens to aid in the capture of runaway slaves.

Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in 1872 because it was illegal for women to vote.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was jailed for leading protests against government-enforced segregation in 1963.

United Kingdom

The British government took bones from children's corpses for radiation testing in the 1960s without the permission of families.