Majority Rule In Civil Disobedience

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In 1849, in the midst of the Mexican war, Henry David Thoreau wrote his essay Civil Disobedience following a night in jail for refusing to pay his taxes. In this essay Thoreau discussed his opinions on the Government of the United States of America at the time. Thoreau felt that majority rule ignores the conscience of the individual, making voting a bet on the end result of the ballot. He called for citizens to take a stand for themselves outside of the government, to finally do what is just. The basis for majority rule is that the group with the greatest number of votes decides the outcome. Thoreau believed that this method caused individuals to think with their minds and ignore their morals. They became like machinery, falling into line with each other, as Army men are intentionally trained to do. The worst…show more content…
When a person casts a vote they are taking the chance that enough people will vote the same way as them in order to accomplish their goal. The problem with this is that “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it,” (Thoreau 430), when they are on the side of the minority. Thoreau believed that because of this people should do more than vote and take a stand. In order to show his objection to the war for instance, he decided not to pay taxes that would go to fund it, and encouraged others to do that same. Furthermore, I am partly in agreement with Thoreau, “… I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government,” (Thoreau 425). The majority rule is not the most just way to govern for those in the minority, but it is the way to satisfy the majority of the country. The problem lies in getting that majority’s beliefs in line with the minority, which can be done by doing something outside of voting, like with Thoreau and his taxes. Hence, I believe that the minority rule is not inherently unjust like Thoreau thought, but I do believe that other things should be done because of

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