An essay on civil disobedience and henry david thoreau

Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar.

The Mexican War is an example of a few people using the government as their tool. Thoreau's speech proved persuasive: I never had seen its institutions before.

When I came out of prison- for some one interfered, and paid that tax- I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common, such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a tottering and gray-headed man; and yet a change had to my eyes come over the scene- the town, and State, and country- greater than any that mere time could effect.

The point of this task was to "anticipate" the seasons of nature, in his word. Wrong will be redressed only by the individual, not through the mechanism of government. Having developed the image of the government as a machine that may or may not do enough good to counterbalance what evil it commits, he urges rebellion.

As governments go, he felt, the U. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? His memory is honored by the international Thoreau Society and his legacy honored by the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, established in in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall.

Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays Quotes

Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour. I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.

When I meet a government which says to me, "Your money or your life," why should I be in haste to give it my money? Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. Thoreau doubts the effectiveness of reform within the government, and he argues that voting and petitioning for change achieves little.

He deplores the lack of judgment, moral sense, and conscience in the way men serve the state. At most, they give only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and God-speed, to the right, as it goes by them.

He kept detailed observations on Concord's nature lore, recording everything from how the fruit ripened over time to the fluctuating depths of Walden Pond and the days certain birds migrated.

Inhe and his family moved into a house at Main Streetwhere he lived until his death. It exists because the people have chosen it to execute their will, but it is susceptible to misuse. The character of the voters is not staked.

Paying taxes is one way in which otherwise well-meaning people collaborate in injustice.

Thoreau, Emerson, and Transcendentalism

Through the use of his civil disobedience, the minority can be heard and not let the majority be able to tell society what is considered right and wrong. Does not America offer any inducement for men to settle here? How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today?

I have other affairs to attend to. Sharing his ideas and experiences of breaking the law, and his education in jail gives the reader more reason to believe his writings.

The judgment of an individual's conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so "[i]t is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.

If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought.

What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.It was included (as "Civil Disobedience") in Thoreau's A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers, published in Boston in by Ticknor and Fields, and reprinted many times.

The essay formed part of Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers as edited by British Thoreau biographer Henry S. Salt and issued in London in Henry David Thoreau: "Civil Disobedience" BACK; NEXT ; Thoreau had some serious problems with the way the United States was run.

He was an outspoken opponent of slavery and bitterly opposed the Mexican-American War, which he viewed as an act of American aggression. Civil Disobedience covers several topics, and Thoreau intersperses poetry and social commentary throughout.

For purposes of clarity and readability, the essay has been divided into three sections here, though Thoreau himself made no such divisions.

Civil Disobedience covers several topics, and Thoreau intersperses poetry and social commentary throughout. For purposes of clarity and readability, the essay has been divided into three sections here, though Thoreau himself made no such divisions.

A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience" (originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government"), an. Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays Quotes Download
An essay on civil disobedience and henry david thoreau
Rated 3/5 based on 82 review