Analysis Of Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience'

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Submit to Willingness: The Declaration of Independence Affirms Thoreau’s Definition of an Individual The conflict between authority and disobedience has stayed relevant since Adam and Eve chose to disobey in the Garden of Eden. Since this moment, every civilization dealt with this relationship. Egyptians faced the exodus of their Israelite slaves from their land, Romans fought with the slave Spartacus who raised an army to fight against the Roman empire, and in the eighteenth century, the French government had the challenge of its civilians revolting against their authority. The balance of authority and disobedience represents a pendulum relationship. When a pendulum swings to one side, it eventually swings to the opposite side with an equal…show more content…
The degree to which a person feels valued determines his interaction with authority. A person is more inclined to follow authority if he feels that his purpose in the state and his opinions are considered. If a person feels neglected by his state, then he is more inclined to disobey the authorities because he recognizes his actions as insignificant. A neglected individual desires respect from his authorities. The author Thoreau explicitly argues for this type of respect for the individual in his article, “Civil Disobedience,”; he states, “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it” (as cited in Jacobus, 1849/1998, p. 128). Every person deserves respect, the opportunity to voice his opinion without condemnation. Respect is achieved through acknowledgment and appreciation of an individual. The process of voting for government officials and the President illustrates how Americans achieve this respect. These positions are ones a person is elected for and not ones a person can inherit. To achieve one of these positions, a candidate must communicate with the citizens of the state, so they can voice their problems to have the candidate attempt to fix them. Having people vote for their officials exhibits how America keeps the opinions of the individual a part of the governing system. Every person’s opinion is valuable in a state; a concept especially true in America. American government has cherished the individual since its creation. Thomas Jefferson asserts, “that all men are created equal” (Jefferson, 1776/2014, para 2). Equality among American citizens is essential for prosperity in American culture. Authority in America is created by the people for the people. One of the main roles of American government serves to create a space to guarantee that every person under its rule receives equal amounts of
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