Analysis Of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience

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March of 1845 saw the end of an election campaign where Democrat James Knox Polk defeated Republican Whig Henry Clay. President Polk was a forceful and aggressive opponent whom idealized making the country great in the eyes of foreign countries. During his campaign, he promised the people that he would help expand the US to the west and fulfill the belief of Manifest Destiny. Within the first year of his inauguration, he had already declared a full-scale war on Mexico and the Texas border causing the Mexican-American War along with negotiation concerning Britain 's property of Oregon. He arguably achieved more land than any other president. President Polk was extremely disliked by the minority since he was a defender of slavery where he…show more content…
He hated slavery, he hated what became of the debacle with Britain over Oregon, and he hated how aggressive Polk became towards Mexico. He then came to the conclusion that people were accepting Polk’s unjust action and could do nothing about it. In turn, he wrote the essay now known as “Civil Disobedience” which core basis is what a citizen should do if he or she believes that a law or action is defined as unjust. He goes on to speak how the reader could protest through non-violent actions. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” spread across space and time which inspired the works, Dr. Martin Luther King. The transcendentalist believes non-violent actions was the key in defying the governing body and the enforcement of unjust laws. Having said so, what defines a law as…show more content…
In both essays, personal involvement plays a key role in showing credibility to the audience. Personal connection offers the audience more to believe thus following the act of defying the law. Thoreau didn’t really offer this as he was merely a spectator of Polk’s actions. He protested on his own ground without a following.His essay didn’t achieve publicity until 1863, after Thoreau’s death. Thoreau’s target of slavery was defining the very institution of the south. Soon southerners started to lose political power and millions over time. Unlike Thoreau, King had a huge audience in the result of his audacity and oration. A smaller target and a greater audience benefited King. The situation called for a leader the audience could relate to and be on a personal level with. King fit those characteristics as he knew what the people were going through. Over time, King’s following would grow greater than Thoreau would have ever hoped for.
Although both essays create distinctive arguments based on similar principles, their perspective differed greatly. In Thoreau’s essay, he discusses that government rarely proves itself as a reliable government and the only way they have the greatest following is because they are the strongest. This influences more people to join their following, according to Thoreau ideology. Unlike Thoreau, King based his morals on the works of God. King was a very spiritual man from a baptist chrurch where most of his activism was born from. He stated this

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