The Mass Of Men In Thoreau's Civil Disobedience

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In the famous essay Civil Disobedience by Henry Thoreau , there is a multitude of famous

quotes. One that has been recognized is “ The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men

mainly, but as machines, with their bodies.”. When first reading this quote it seems as if he is

saying that most men do things with no cause or reason. Well he is,Thoreau is criticizing the

general population who follows the government or any group blindly without thinking or

evaluating. As intuition and being true to oneself are of the utmost importance to

Transcendentalists, being a “machine” is extremely undesirable. Although he states that the

majority of the population is just working for the government unknowingly, he’s trying to urge
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