What Is Thoreau's Thesis In Civil Disobedience

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Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau’s famous essay, Civil Disobedience, is an interesting window into the mind of a staunch logician who supports morals above all else. As a transcendentalist, Thoreau supports the mindset of human perfection; that is, he believes that all humans can achieve a complete lack of sin. Unfortunately, Christians know this to be false; the only person who has ever achieved perfection was both God and man; however, this mindset is constantly seen in Thoreau’s essay. The entire essay serves as an indictment on the American government for its ‘complication’ and its efforts to create an empire during the Spanish-American War. While the entire essay is not a beneficial political ideology, a clear majority of…show more content…
Thoreau begins his speech with an excessive emphasis on the superfluous nature of government. As a self-proclaimed constitutionalist, I can wholly agree with the Thoreau’s oft-used quote, “That government is best that governs least”. Indeed, like Thoreau, I find it both victimizing and repulsive to create a welfare society in which men can both be lazy and survive. Thoreau gives a magnificent description of the role of a government when he says, “government is at best but an expedient”. Unfortunately, Thoreau delves too deep into this mindset and states that “a government is best which governs not at all”. Fortunately for all the citizens in our nation, we do not have an aloof government; if a government governs ‘not at all’ it ceases to be a government, and for all intents and purposes becomes an economic entity. Without the governance of political body, a society cannot progress; without prisons, without a military, and without national infrastructure, a nation cannot survive in the constantly changing international scene. Indeed, Thoreau condemns the United States for its position towards slavery several times throughout the essay; however, ironically, it is the United States government that ends this institution
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