In preparation for an argumentative essay, what are two well-known historical examples of someone doing something that they personally felt was the right thing to do even though authorities considered it wrong?
The sort of conduct that you are talking about here is typically called “civil disobedience.” This occurs when a person deliberately violates laws that he or she thinks are wrong. The person does not conceal their actions and they are willing to take the consequences. I would say that the two most famous examples of people who did this are Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Both of these men wanted to do things that the authorities did not approve of. One thing that Gandhi did was to march with many followers to the sea and to start to make salt. The British government had a monopoly on making salt and therefore Gandhi’s actions were illegal. He did them anyway because he felt that it was wrong to enforce that monopoly. Martin Luther King is famous in the United States for leading many protests that the authorities did not approve of. Perhaps the most famous of these was the march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. The march was meant as a way to publicize the fact that white officials were refusing to allow blacks to register to vote. The governor of Alabama criticized the march and said that he would everything he could to prevent it. Police blocked the march and committed brutal acts against marchers.
King and Gandhi are perhaps the most famous examples of people who did things that they felt were right even if those things were illegal.