Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau's Resistance To Civil Government

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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

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