He made a strong case for acting on one's individual conscience and not blindly following laws and government policy. " The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right," he wrote (Thoreau,1854). The timely and inaccurate injustice of society led Thoreau to a new height of revolution and it spooked the immeasurable feeling of human justice we human possess. An average person living about his daily life in the society is somewhat barred from taking those brave acts as he becomes a part of the system.
He also believes that a person should distance themselves from government, especially if it is unjust and should refuse to follow such institutions that go against one’s beliefs of doing wrong acts. Although Thoreau affirms we should rebel against what is wrong, we should also be peaceful when doing it like he does, for example, and not participate in passive waiting for something that may be deemed as unjust to change. Do what justice requires no matter what but always be aware of the consequences and do not do unjustly acts when refusing
Thoreau strongly opposes slavery and the Mexican American war due to his strong moral values. These values enable Thoreau to put others suffering before his, which results in him not paying his taxes which were going to be used to support slavery and the Mexican American war. In the essay, “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau openly opposes the Mexican American war, proclaiming that it is an evil that is promoting “manifest destiny”, in order to obtain more land. “Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure." (Henry David Thoreau in Civil
He also explains that we, as American citizens, not only have the right, but the duty to rebel against the government. However, because of the enslavement of about one-sixth of the population and with the invasion of Mexico, he speaks about not letting it continue any longer and to stop the unjust of it all. Thoreau furthermore exclaims in his essays that the Americans citizens should have followed what power they thought was right, like their conscience, instead of the wrong of the government. Thoreau ultimately sent the message that if following what was right and following your heart really believes in like the right of doing right; then let it be and so live life in spite of what one thinks.
In the play, "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail," by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Henry David Thoreau, the protagonist of the play, is shown to advocate self-awareness and making your own decisions based on your own beliefs. As expressed in the maxim, the ideals of transcendentalism and individuality, regardless of society's expectations, is evidently shown in the text. In the play, Henry David Thoreau is thrown in jail for one night because he refuses to pay taxes that support the Mexican-American War. Although it was considered an American duty to pay taxes to support the country's decisions, Thoreau did not believe that the Mexican-American War was the right direction towards prosperity, so he risked the consequence of prison rather than succumb to the directions given to him which would falsify his own ideals.
He stays true to his own opinions against the United States involvement in the Mexican-American War and his value of individualism enables him to put that belief into action through civil disobedience, despite it being a daring and unheard-of act that went against the prevailing views of his community. Although others such as Emerson and Sam urge him to pay the tax and go along with the societal norm, he refuses to comply with a requirement that went against his viewpoint. Thoreau regards the action of “going along” with extreme distaste, comparing it to “ only breathing in and never breathing out! A man can suffocate on courtesy” (13). Exercising what he saw to be the unalienable right, or even obligation, of the individual to develop original thought and determine right or wrong according to their true self, he maintains his own stance even if it meant being arrested and imprisoned.
Thoreau 's views on the government by comparing the government to a machine. He states, ”When the machine was producing injustice, it was the duty of conscientious citizens to be ‘a counter friction’ (i.e., a resistance) "to stop the machine.” The two major issues being debated in the United States during his life was slavery and the Mexican-American War in which were major reasons he wrote his essays. In the mid to late 1840’s slavery has been indoctrinated into American society in which caused rifts between Americans.
Throughout history many nonviolent social movements have taken place. These movements have helped to fix injustices and provide a better environment for many people. One of these highly important social movements being the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement consisted of a series of events that led to important advancements for people of color. These events took place during the 1950’s-1960’s and some of the campaigns that took place to further the movement were the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Lunch Counter Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and Freedom Summer. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a fundamental part of desegregating buses and gaining better treatment for African-American bus riders. The Nashville Sit-ins helped to desegregate eating
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
Lincoln tried to rationalize the emancipation of slaves, which at that time was viewed as unconstitutional, by endorsing The Declaration of Independance. The declaration declares that “all men are created equal.” but the Constitution is very selective in who they consider to be equal. The Gettysburg Address was used to let the American people know where Lincoln stood on the issue of slavery, which to this day still remains one of the most known speeches in American history. It implied that all men are created equal, but at that time it was quite the opposite.
Abraham Lincoln in the speech, The Gettysburg Address, constructs a point of achieving a "just and lasting peace" between the North and South without retribution. Lincoln supports his assertion by justifying his beliefs of unity between the states. Lincoln's purpose is to influence the people to not allow what has been done to go to waste. He wants his audience to realize that this division will only persist if no one settles the current issues in society. Lincoln speaks in a sympathizing, determined tone to address the Americans who are mourning the loss of their loved ones and to the rest of Americans who he wants to see a change from.
Abraham Lincoln constantly changed his opinions and views on slavery and equality. “Unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once stand up for declaring that all men are created equal”(Document A). This is one of his many statements at a speech in Chicago, IL, July 1858. He clearly states that he is in favor of equality and that he believes that not one man should be named superior rather than another. But just two months later, he remarks, in a debate with Stephen A. Douglas
When you listen to what humans say or what they believe in, and do the same thing, you will never know your own self. Thoreau argued about the government needing to end earning taxes from the citizens. He believed the poll tax was to support the Mexican-American war and to expand slavery. Because of the beliefs he had, he refused to pay for a aspect he did not believe in. When Henry later found out someone paid his taxes to let him out of jail, he seemed quite mad about the issue.
Another famous essay Thoreau’s is Civil Disobedience. Civil Disobedience was published in 1849. In this essay he talks about his belief on how individuals shouldn’t blindly follow the government if they thought the rules and laws are unjust. This was partly motivated by Thoreau’s hatred towards slavery and the government support of it. Thoreau thought we would be better without the government as he mentions in the first paragraph of Civil Disobedience, “that government is the best which governs not at all.”
This citation shows that Thoreau did not want to follow the laws. Thoreau also believed in living life by following moral law and not law stated in the constitution. Thoreau also believed that the government does best if it does not rule over the people. In the essay Civil Disobedience it says “That government is best which governs least”. This shows what Thoreau felt the government should not do.