The Circular Relationship In Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience

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The relationship between a government and its citizens must maintain the perfect balance between giving and taking. The relationship consists of constant checks and balances; however, it normally goes awry because either the disobedience is ineffective, or the authority is tyrannical. Typically, the relationship between a government and its citizens holds tension. The tension in the relationship stems from poor communication. Citizens communicate their grievances to the government through disobedience; therefore, the government communicates back by reestablishing order. Equal involvement from both parties establishes a circular relationship. American citizens must become aware of the circular relationship with authority to foster change and prevent injustice.…show more content…
Injustice, while not difficult to identify, must be communicated from individuals to authority members. Communication about injustice helps prevent further inequality. The tension in the circular relationship lies determining whether the injustice necessitates disobedience. In Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, Thoreau attempts to persuade citizens to deliberately disobey and isolate themselves from the government. Thoreau creates a metaphor where injustice impacts a government machine. First, he writes that citizens can let the government or machine try to fix itself or try to find the injustice within itself, “…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” (Thoreau, 1847, p. 134). Thoreau identifies that ultimately if citizens want change from injustice, citizens must disobey. The active pursuit of injustice and constant disobedience affects change within the government. Likewise, the Declaration of Independence claims that disobedience becomes a part of a citizen’s duty. The Declaration of Independence starts with a similar call to action: “When in the
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