Thoreau’s view on the society as he states, “In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well” go to show that it was harder to have individuality and to refuse the governments ways. Now-a-days the practice of civil disobedience has allowed citizens to practice non-conformity with the protection of amendments but back then while the nation was just growing they had to have more power and that, “so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that is, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniency, it is the will of God that the established government be obeyed, and no longer" as quoted by Paley. The society was most likely pushed towards acceptance of the government and weren’t as self-reliant to make change in their
The individual's relationship to the state is a concept often entertained abstractly; at variance with this is Civil Disobedience, which analyzes Thoreau's first direct experience with state power in his brief 1846 imprisonment. Thoreau metaphorically detailed his search for virtue in the quote, "The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly." (Thoreau 8) In Civil Disobedience Thoreau as earnest seeker and flawed captive of the conscience concertedly attempts to correct this shortcoming within the context of slavery and the Mexican-American War. The government, he cites, is often found on expediency which can enable
“Civil Disobedience” is an essay written by Henry David Thoreau about people needing to put their conscience ahead of the government rulings by criticizing American policies and beliefs. He expresses his opinion of a “government is best which governs least” (Thoreau 305) by heavily supporting his topic and by using rhetorical techniques. Rhetorical devices are used in papers for the writer to better persuade the audience or to better understand the topic they are writing about; they can also be used to play with the reader’s emotions. The rhetorical devices that have the most impact on the reader in Thoreau’s essay are allusions, rhetorical questions, pathos, imagery, and chronological narrative.
What makes a government and society moral and just has been a reoccurring question and issue throughout time. Henry David Thoreau, an American transcendentalist, stressed civil disobedience and greatly showed his disbeliefs on the Mexican-American War in his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government.” Through comparing the nation's political authority to a machine and not paying his taxes as a method of protest, Thoreau manages to coax the “true citizen” to stand up against unjust government.
Both Thoreau and King rely heavily on ethos to get their points across. The intended audience of both is similar; a group of people with similar morals as the writers, but who have neglected action for various reasons. King also appeals to pathos, describing the plight of the colored man vividly. King’s audience is largely aware of this situation already, but he uses it to drive them to action rather than simple awareness. On the other hand, Thoreau appeals little to pathos, focusing instead on logic and ethics.
Government laws are necessary for our communities because if people do not agree with the government, it does not mean government decision are incorrect. In “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau talks about government and points out the flaws in the government system. On the other hand, in “ The Grapes of Wrath,” Steinbeck talk on the birth of civilization from physical and governmental issues. Although, many cases Thoreau and Steinbeck perspectives on government contradicts with each other however they both share similar thoughts about self-government.
Throughout the writing “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau spoke often of the idea he supported, which was “That government is best which governs least;” In his text he talked about not paying the government’s poll tax for 6 years, causing him to be thrown in jail. A poll tax is a tax of an equal amount of money for each individual paying it. This poll tax was for waging war on Mexico, which Thoreau disagreed with, therefore he did not pay it. When talking about his time in jail, Thoreau used many different rhetorical strategies, including an intense appeal to Pathos, as well as major uses of imagery and symbolism in order to achieve his purpose of persuading his audience that the best type of government is one one of laissez-faire.
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.
Thoreau uses extended metaphors to convey his frustration and disapproval towards the government by comparing man and the government to thoughtless machines. He states that “the mass of men serve the states thus, not as men, but as machines….(Thoreau, 941)” He uses metaphors similar to this one to better get across the loss of individuality of the people and drastic change into uniform and thoughtless machines without a moral compass, for when people become machine-like they act unjust and without acknowledgment of the consequences their actions can have, such as soldiers participating in war (mentioned in paragraph two). This idea of a lack of human individuality and integrity goes against Thoreau’s views on the world at large. Thoreau again
Near the beginning of his renowned essay, "Civil Disobedience," Henry David Thoreau appeals to his fellow citizens when he says, "...I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government." This request serves as a starting point from which the rest of "Civil Disobedience" emerges. Thoreau 's essay is particularly compelling because of its incorporation of rhetorical strategies, including the use of logos, ethos, pathos, purposive discourse, rhetorical competence and identification. I will demonstrate how each of these rhetorical techniques benefit Thoreau 's persuasive argument.
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. His speech can be broken down into smaller parts that first emphasized the hard facts, then secondly,
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
The main similarity in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Henry David Thoreau is the idea of revolution against an abusive government. The main difference is the context in which each document was written, the Declaration of Independence as the colonies were rebelling against Great Britain and forming their own government, and Civil Disobedience as criticisms of the government developed within nearly seventy-five years after the signing of the Declaration. Both Jefferson and Thoreau share ideas of revolution, although overthrowing the government is seen in many cases as illegal. Both documents share a common theme of revolution, and both authors believe the best way to move toward a better government is civil disobedience. Jefferson and Thoreau believe that whether it is the struggle for independence or being freed from injustices of the government, civil disobedience and revolution are necessary in order to live in a society based on freedom.