The government can’t take away what is rightfully yours; the freedom of speech, as stated in the first amendment and Thoreau obviously used that to his greatest and wisest. Thoreau greatly and with heart encouraged the pacifistic protest- because he doesn’t believe in violence and chaos- and also defending civil liberties. Thoreau’s essay although wasn’t really acknowledge at the time, probably due to the outcry of his powerful speech, but it eventually led up to inspiring other inspiring folk’s civil rights
Henry David Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (first presented in 1848 and first published 1849) insists, — “That government is best which governs least”, or alternatively, — “That government is best which governs not at all.” Thoreau develops and supports his thesis statement by explaining what government is at best (an expedient) and usually is (inexpedient), and by giving a specific and current example to his readers. The author’s purpose was to educate the masses regarding civil disobedience, teaching them not only that it’s allowed, but that it’s a duty upon them in order to create an ideal government or even world. Thoreau’s intended audience is clearly the people who, as Thoreau himself said, “would not have consented to
Thoreau explains that the state and societies prison “never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength” and furthermore that he “was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion” (1990). Therefore, Resistance to Civil Government is validating that prison is confinement and conformity, however, Thoreau will not be conforming to any such conformist state and neither should the reader. Thoreau finally reinforces that he is “not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society” and that “if a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so man” (1990), Thoreau is explicating that society needs to be responsible for its self and become self-reliant, just as an individual should be, because it is the nature of the world and society and if it cannot live as such then it will not continue to
EXPLANATION of 2nd Quote: The government is only there most of the time to be forceful. The government only has the right to be forceful because they are stronger and more powerful than him. Thoreau, on the other hand, was not going to be forced to do anything. This is why he protested by not paying a poll tax, and ended up in jail for one night. He would rather them have his life than his money.
Thoreau, knowing the widely accepted value of justice, says "If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth - certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine." His goal here is to inspire individuals to break unjust laws, to ultimately achieve the perfect idea of a government. By convincing his audience that civil disobedience is ethically and morally right, he achieves that goal. King takes a step back from civil rights to look at the big picture of moral rightness. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” This ethical argument is effective in showing how civil rights can benefit a much broader scope than what it seems. Through the use of ethical appeal, both Thoreau and King challenge their audience to target
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 born and raised in Concord, was a popular student in Harvard. Despite his financial and health deformities he was able to graduate from the university. By 1837 America was facing an economic depression and jobs were not easily available. Thoreau began to write poems and essays of transcendentalism to escape from the development and also to emphasize on nature. Therefore, he spent two years in Walden Pond (Schneider, 2013).
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
“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.
He objected the injustices of war and slavery, and practiced civil disobedience in his daily life. In the time of Thoreau writing Civil Disobedience, many people believed revolution against the government had not been necessary since the time of the American Revolution. However, Thoreau believes that resisting an abusive government is especially important at this point in time considering that, "a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law." According to Thoreau, it is the duty of American citizens to promptly revolutionize against slavery and the Mexican-American War, which have both been supported by the corrupted American
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.
Throughout the writing of “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau often referred back to his idea that he supported which was “That government is best which governs not at all.” (Thoreau) In the passage, Thoreau believed that the government does not have a conscience. He talked about not wanting to pay the government poll tax, which in result, caused him to be thrown into jail. A poll tax is just a tax on a person for existing, therefore, everyone had to pay the same amount regardless of the value of their possessions. This poll tax was for prosecuting war on Mexico, which Thoreau disagreed with, therefore, he did not pay it.
In the 1830’s, a group called the transcendentalist arose. It lasted from 1836 to just about 1861. Some people were upset about how the Unitarian church was running things so instead people turned to nature. Basically they believed that any individual was more powerful than any institution. When they created this transcendentalist club they also created rules to go with it. Their rules were basically their beliefs. They believed in an individual’s inner soul leads to the truth. Individual relationships with God was much bigger than anything you could get in a church. Nature played a huge roll in their beliefs. They found the goodness of nature everywhere. To them, all we needed to survive was our mind. The mind is where they
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
Henry David Thoreau begins his essay Resistance to Civil Government, also known as Civil Disobedience, by stating that governing forces rarely demonstrates itself as useful and that they obtain power from the majority of people simply because the majority is the strongest group, not because their viewpoint is the most reasonable. Thoreau argues that government only exists for the sole purpose of guaranteeing freedom for individuals. He states that he simply wishes for a better government, not to abolish it. The rule of expediency, in Thoreau’s case, can be defined as government officials putting themselves before citizens so that they themselves can be more practical and convenient. Thoreau believes the rule of expediency is an unsatisfactory
One of the greatest leaders that greatly impacted society and still influences culture today is Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was an advocate for peaceful resistance, he believed in standing up against injustices with peace. On the contrary, there is another great author who impacted society with his literature, and his name is Henry David Thoreau. Henry Thoreau believed in a much different manner of resisting in society. He believed in nonconforming and breaking the law. His literature greatly impacted how society views nonconformity today. Gandhi and Thoreau have many similarities and differences about the way things in society should run, and how the government should govern.