What is Martial Law?

Take a look at the following clip for me.

That was a scene from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Class warfare was a major theme throughout the film, and it showed how poverty and crime are directly tied to economic inequality. The division between the upper, middle and lower class was a mirrored image of what’s happening today. Bane, the film’s villain/antihero, uses this as a base to turn the city against itself and reestablish order by giving the power back to the people. To redistribute that power, martial law had to be enforced.

U.S. Constitution defines martial law as the suspension of civil authority and the imposition of military authority. When a country is under martial law, the military is in control of the area and acts as the police, the courts, and the legislature. It’s been argued that only Congress can declare martial law because they have the power to suspend the writ: an order issued by a legal authority with administrative or juridical power. However, the President, who is the commander-in-chief of the military, can also declare it.

The Dark Knight Rises blurs the lines between guerrilla warfare (civilians fighting to overthrow a government) and martial law, and this led me to start questioning the causes. Encyclopedia.com advised that martial law is only used during war or periods of civil unrest or chaos. Civil liberties that may be suspended include the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of association, and freedom of movement. Uprisings, political protests, labor strikes, and riots have typically been the precursors to this declaration. And some of the effects include looting, havoc for days or weeks, and deaths.

There’s an element of truth in these fictional films. I’ve said time and time again, that I’m not a conspiracy theorist. But with the social climate being what it is, the wealth gap expanding by the years, the hostile programming from the media, the increasing anxiety/depression levels, the rising poverty level, and recent discussions about a possible war, civil unrest throughout the nation doesn’t seem too far away. I’m not suggesting that we walk in fear, but I am advising that we start paying attention.

Until Next Time…






Brondoal , K. (n.d.). Cause and Effect of Martial Law. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://www.scribd.com/document/383575950/Cause-and-Effect-of-Martial-Law.

Class Warfare in The Dark Knight Rises. (2012, December 8). Retrieved January 12, 2020, from http://dansfilmblogonraceclassandgender.blogspot.com/2012/12/class-warfare-in-dark-knight-rises.html.

Constitutional Topic: Martial Law. (2010, January 24). Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_mlaw.html.

MARTIAL LAW. (2019, November 30). Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/law/law-divisions-and-codes/martial-law.



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