Examples Of Individualism In Civil Disobedience

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Civil Disobedience means “the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest,” according to Dictionary.com. Thoreau used the term “Civil Disobedience” to describe his refusal to pay the state poll tax implemented by the American government to finance the war in Mexico and to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) believed that this was a wrong thing to do because it would have caused a huge problem. He wrote the essay “Civil Disobedience” to expose the fact that individuals would do what government told them to and not ask questions. Thoreau uses the concepts of individualism and self- reliance in “Civil Disobedience” to get people to think about what the government is doing.…show more content…
Individualism means a person who acts without reference to others. He felt that individuals should live a simple life, a life where one can focus on themselves and their goals. He writes, “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right”(109) This means that people should be able to live their lives freely and do what they think is right as long as they don’t endanger others. For example, individuals who were in the peaceful protest Occupy Wall Street. They were expressing their freedom of speech and protesting for economic equality. The government was preventing them from protesting the big banks by beating and arresting them. Thoreau would think that is not right because the government was interfering with individual’s rights to live
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