Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) is a dissertation written by American abolitionist, author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau published by Elizabeth Peabody in the Aesthetic Papers in 1849. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was born and lived almost his life in Concord, Massachusetts. After finishing public and private school in Concord he attended the prestige Harvard University. He excelled at Harvard despite leaving school for several months due to health and financial setbacks. Mr. Thoreau graduated in the top half of his class in 1837. Mr. Thoreau argues that people should not allow any government to control or atrophy their thoughts or beliefs. Mr. Thoreau was an also remained a devoted abolitionist and has written …show more content…
Thoreau 's views on the government by comparing the government to a machine. He states, ”When the machine was producing injustice, it was the duty of conscientious citizens to be ‘a counter friction’ (i.e., a resistance) "to stop the machine.” The two major issues being debated in the United States during his life was slavery and the Mexican-American War in which were major reasons he wrote his essays. In the mid to late 1840’s slavery has been indoctrinated into American society in which caused rifts between Americans. Slavery had led to a division in the United States. Northerners expressed the abolishment of slavery while the Southerners were in favor of it. During the 1850’s, the United States became polarized due to slavery sentiments on both sides and Congress passed Fugitive Slave Laws. Congress passed the fugitive slave laws in 1793 and 1850 to return slaves who had escaped from a slave state into a free state or territory. The ideology of the fugitive slave law was borrowed from the Fugitive Slave Clause in the United States Constitution (Article IV, Section 2, Paragraph 3). It was conceived to force states to deliver escaped slaves to slave owner’s violated states ' rights due to state sovereignty and was believed that seizing state property should not be left up to the states. The Fugitive Slave Clause states that escaped slaves "shall be delivered up on claim of the arty to which such Service or labour may be due". During the …show more content…
India’s leader Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) was influenced by David Thoreau 's Civil Disobedience arguments while sitting in jail. Gandhi loosely adopted the term “civil disobedience” for non-violent protests and refused to cooperate with injustice. Following his release, he protested the registration law by joining labor strikes and organizing a large non-violent march. After the marches, the Boer government finally agreed to end the most divisive sections of the law. In 1907, he campaigned in South Africa and wrote a translated synopsis of Thoreau 's argument for the Indian Opinion. Mr. Gandhi credited Thoreau 's essay with being "the chief cause of the abolition of slavery in America"; furthermore, he stated, "both his example and writings are at present exactly applicable to the Indians in the Transvaal(a region under British rule. Known as South
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
Letter of Birmingham Jail and Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. both tried to fight for their rights to go against the authority if there is any social injustice. Thoreau took the duty and responsibility of the people to protest and take action against the laws of the government. Although, King communicates to his people about the laws or the government against the blacks are intolerable and that “Civil Disobedience” should have an instrument of freedom. They both incredibly illustrate their thought that “Civil Disobedience” is a needed thing, and the similarities and differences of these two essays at portrayed through the time, people, speaker, tone, and strategies. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” was wrote in the U.S. during the transcendentalism time around 1837 to about the 1840’s.
Civil disobedience is an idea that Henry Thoreau wrote about in the 1800's, which later inspired political activists to lead nonviolent protests that effected change in their government. In my research during this assignment, I read that people influenced by Thoreau's writings included philosopher Martin Buber, Mohandas Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. In reading "A Letter from Burmingham Jail," by Dr. King, alongside Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government," interesting comparisons and conclusions can be made on the subject of civil disobedience. Both Henry Thoreau and Dr. King used all three persuasive techniques presented at the start of the assignment, however, the way that Martin Luther King Jr. brought emotional life to ethical words is
He states, “But, idealist as he was, standing for abolition of slavery, abolition of tariffs, almost for abolition of government, it is needless to say he found himself not only unrepresented in actual politics, but almost equally opposed to every class of reformers.” It is clear that Emerson is supporting the claim he made earlier in which that Thoreau is man who shapes his own values and cannot be influenced or pressured by society. Emerson later adds “Yet he paid the tribute of his uniform respect to the Anti-Slavery party”, highlighting the idea to the audience that Thoreau was not forced to help the Anti-Slavery party instead, he purposefully chose to aid the group by own free will. The concept presented by Emerson supports the conclusion Thoreau drew in an earlier essay titled Civil Disobedience.
The United States Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. It was part of a series of laws known as the Compromise of 1850, which aimed to resolve the conflict between Northern and Southern states over the issue of slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act made it a federal crime to assist a runaway slave and required citizens to return runaway slaves to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The law was highly controversial and sparked intense debate between those who supported slavery and those who opposed it. The Fugitive Slave Act remained in effect until the Civil War, and its legacy continues to be felt in the ongoing struggle for racial justice in the United States.
Both Thoreau and Gandhi wanted peace and equality considering the fact that both men fought for what they believed was right. In their determination for freedom and tranquility, they believed that injustice should be no more. In both “Civil Obedience” and “On Civil Obedience both men interpret that the government
Throughout history there have been many political changes that are either supported, or not, by citizens. In the given passage from, "Civil Disobedience," by Thoreau, a perspective of disagreeing with the government ways, is provided. Thoreau explains how a government should be in comparison to how it really is by utilizing his words to set the tone and mode, imagery to achieve his audience's understanding, and diction to make his writing scholarly. Although tone and mode are not directly stated, you can infer that Thoreau meant for his writing to be taken as serious and powerful. His implementation of words such as, "inexpedient," "execute," " integrity," and "command," makes one think about their lawful rights and reflect on what rights are supported or
After the speeches he decides he hasn’t done enough, so he wrote an essay called “Civil Disobedience” (Thoreau). It was his biggest and best act of civil disobedience (Internet). In his essay he describes slavery as unjust (Thoreau). His essay is very excellent written and is one of the best in history to be written.
He objected the injustices of war and slavery, and practiced civil disobedience in his daily life. In the time of Thoreau writing Civil Disobedience, many people believed revolution against the government had not been necessary since the time of the American Revolution. However, Thoreau believes that resisting an abusive government is especially important at this point in time considering that, "a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law." According to Thoreau, it is the duty of American citizens to promptly revolutionize against slavery and the Mexican-American War, which have both been supported by the corrupted American
In his essay of Civil Disobedience, Thoreau exclaims many social issues that were going on around that time that also inspired his essay. The social issues that were going on around the time were the Relocation of the Native-Americans, which ties in with Manifest Destiny, slavery, poll taxes, Mexican-American war, and many more. Henry Thoreau didn’t believe in what the government was doing and how they were running American. Manifest Destiny was a big concept during all those times which really triggered the Domino effect with disagreement of how the Mexicans were being forced out of their territory which eventually led up to the Mexican-American
(1) EXPLANATION of 1st Quote: Thoreau thought that people should be able to do what they thought was right to them, and not what was right to the government. INTRO TO Research That Supports/Helps Explain 1st Quote:___________________________________ RESEARCH QUOTE: ______________________________________________________________________( ) EXPLANATION OF RESEARCH: INTRO to 2nd Quote: Thoreau explains, “...”.
The purpose of Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" is to make an argument between what is right and what is convenient. He describes the dangers of listening and agreeing with everything a government says, or any large group of people, instead of paying attention to one's own conscience. Thoreau relates this idea to one personal experience he had when he was forced to spend a night in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax. He describes how the instance made him feel and how it differentiated from the way he saw his village. Before he understood how his everyday actions were similar to his knowledge of a larger democracy and government.
Both Civil Disobedience and the Gandhi article are alike based on the fact they both discuss civil disobedience, attending prison, and standing for one’s beliefs. Civil disobedience can be seen as a good thing and a bad thing depending on to what extent one is breaking the laws. Some people may break the law because they feel that it is unfair to them but others break the for the simple fact of doing what they want in order for it to benefit themselves. Laws are meant for the majority which means even if they are not pertaining to certain citizens. Thoreau targeted laws that pertained to him, Gandhi went on strike for the better of his country and people.
“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, was written in 1846 because he was enraged about being put in jail over not paying his taxes. Thoreau did not support the southern government and slavery therefore he did not feel as if he should pay taxes. He did not agree with the war with Mexico and he felt as if it would only give southern states more power and more southern “slave” states. In jail alone and having time to think, Henry David Thoreau, wrote this essay on his experiences and beliefs.
What Thoreau means by the Civil Disobedience is that every person should be govern more by his own moral compass that gives him much clearer answer to his deeds, rather than some laws of a government. “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think we should be men first, and subjects afterward.” (1)
Thoreau had completely different views and perspectives than Gandhi. Thoreau believed in breaking the law if it is unjust or abusive. In the essay Civil Disobedience it says “I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest”.