Examples Of Henry Thoreau's Guide To The Presidential Election

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Henry Thoreau’s Guide to the Presidential Election Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience inspired many political leaders, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and as a result is considered by many to be one of the most influential political pieces ever written by an American. Such an influential piece can be applied to many political issues from all ages since its origin in 1849, even today’s overwhelming presidential election. All of the components of the ongoing election have been unorthodox and, at times, insane. Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience gives insight to the issues regarding the upcoming presidential election, as well as possible solutions. First, Thoreau makes it evident in Civil Disobedience that a vast majority of the government is …show more content…

Thoreau says, “Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice” (Thoreau 2). My interpretation of this statement is that Thoreau feels like politics can take even the best of people and cause their actions to be unjust. There are obvious ways this can be seen in any election, but one particular example I have noticed is the bias reporting by the media. One study says, “By comparison, only 11 percent of the primary coverage focused on the candidates’ policy positions, leadership abilities or personal and professional histories” (Childress). This isn’t directly a reflection upon the government being corrupt, but rather a reflection based on the corruption and unjustness of the entire election process. It seems that throughout this election the candidates have lost sight of what really matters which leads to the biased press and then the confused and misinformed voters. This idea is strengthened by the statement, “What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army” (Thoreau 3). Thoreau points out at that point in the essay that when a country, or an election, is overrun by corruption the country no longer truly belongs to the …show more content…

In today’s election, many people let the label “republican” or “democrat” dictate their vote and, in return, their morals. Thoreau says, “Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience … [must the citizen] resign his conscience to the legislation? Why has every man a conscience, then?” (Thoreau 1). This is applicable to the election because the way I see it is, if you feel that voting for one candidate will compromise your morals, but you feel that you must because that is what the majority of your political party is doing, then you are losing sight of yourself. One voter, Vanessa Perez, says “… I just really strongly believe that you should always vote your conscience … The Democratic party clearly doesn’t really care for the Bernie supporters and our stances, so we might as well work for a party that will” (Gabbatt). She is a good example of a voter following her conscience rather than her political party. In addition, a poll conducted by CNN reveals, “… 13% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents who would rather the party had nominated Sanders were now planning to vote for Stein…” (Gabbatt). Although this percentage is small, it still shows that there are voters willing to forego their political party for the all around better candidate. Thoreau also suggests that

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