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
The main similarity in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Henry David Thoreau is the idea of revolution against an abusive government. The main difference is the context in which each document was written, the Declaration of Independence as the colonies were rebelling against Great Britain and forming their own government, and Civil Disobedience as criticisms of the government developed within nearly seventy-five years after the signing of the Declaration. Both Jefferson and Thoreau share ideas of revolution, although overthrowing the government is seen in many cases as illegal. Both documents share a common theme of revolution, and both authors believe the best way to move toward a better government is civil disobedience. Jefferson and Thoreau believe that whether it is the struggle for independence or being freed from injustices of the government, civil disobedience and revolution are necessary in order to live in a society based on freedom.
Henry David Thoreau committed a crime in the name of civil disobedience and thus for such disobedience was imprisoned. Henry David Thoreau took a stand for what he believed, his sacrifice was significant for these 3 reasons. First, Mr. Thoreau had strong moral values which made him oppose slavery and the Mexican American war. Secondly, Thoreau’s act of civil disobedience was a powerful statement in which he peacefully refused to pay his poll tax. Finally, Mr. Thoreau willingly accepted the consequences of his actions in order to prove his point.
In Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, he explains his beliefs, criticizes the issues he sees within the government, and proposes how we should handle these injustices especially after experiencing jail. Thoreau didn't pay poll taxes, which supported a war and slavery itself (Costly, n.d.). Thoreau regards that the government shouldn’t completely interfere with our lives, but should not be completely done away with. Also, that it is not used correctly and tends to only benefit the majority who may or may not have logical or just views. People are supposed to do what they think is right and not go against their conscience, but to follow it and not what is proposed by the majority.
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.
Values are a set of principles that define a person at the essence and reflect what they hold to be truly important. They act as like a compass, providing a sense of correctness when on the right track, or internal nudge to correct one's path when drifting off course. In Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, Henry David Thoreau is a unique character who strives to live a life in alignment with his values, even if it means going to extreme lengths. The belief that spiritual welfare is of greater importance over financial prosperity and the emphasis on the power of the individual are two out of seven Transcendental values that have the greatest influence on Henry David Thoreau’s actions. Throughout the play, the
Body Paragraph 1: Topic Sentence (Take Straight From Your Reason 1): Thoreau was extremely against the government being too involved in a person's life. INTRO to 1st Quote: Thoreau believed, “...”. 1st Quote that supports the Topic Sentence: “That government is best which governs least.”
“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.
Civil Disobedience In the dictionary civil disobedience is the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest, but Thoreau and Martin Luther King have their own beliefs to civil disobedience. In Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” he writes about the need to prioritize one’s conscience over the dictates of laws. Martin Luther King uses civil disobedience as something that effectuates change in the government. Both Thoreau and Martin Luther King has similar yet different perspectives on civil disobedience.
Civil Disobedience Compare and Contrast Henry Thoreau and Martin Luther King both wrote persuasive discussions that oppose many ideals and make a justification of their cause, being both central to their argument. While the similarity is obvious, the two essays, Civil Disobedience by Thoreau and Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. do have some similarities. King tries persuading white, southern clergymen that segregation is an evil, unfair law that ought to defeat by use of agitation of direct protesting. Thoreau, on the other hand, writes to a broader, non-addressed audience, and focuses more on the state itself. He further accepts it at its current state, in regard to the battle with Mexico and the institution of slavery.
Both Thoreau and King rely heavily on ethos to get their points across. The intended audience of both is similar; a group of people with similar morals as the writers, but who have neglected action for various reasons. King also appeals to pathos, describing the plight of the colored man vividly. King’s audience is largely aware of this situation already, but he uses it to drive them to action rather than simple awareness. On the other hand, Thoreau appeals little to pathos, focusing instead on logic and ethics.
Government laws are necessary for our communities because if people do not agree with the government, it does not mean government decision are incorrect. In “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau talks about government and points out the flaws in the government system. On the other hand, in “ The Grapes of Wrath,” Steinbeck talk on the birth of civilization from physical and governmental issues. Although, many cases Thoreau and Steinbeck perspectives on government contradicts with each other however they both share similar thoughts about self-government.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s essay, “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and Henry David Thoreau essay “Civil Disobedience,” both share their opinions on social injustice and civil disobedience. They both believe that people can protest unfair and unjust laws imposed on them in a civil way. In addition, King and Thoreau are challenging the government with their essays, which they wrote after they got sent to jail. For protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, King spent eleven days in jail; Thoreau spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax. Both King and Thoreau’s essays present similar plans for a resolution.
What makes a government and society moral and just has been a reoccurring question and issue throughout time. Henry David Thoreau, an American transcendentalist, stressed civil disobedience and greatly showed his disbeliefs on the Mexican-American War in his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government.” Through comparing the nation's political authority to a machine and not paying his taxes as a method of protest, Thoreau manages to coax the “true citizen” to stand up against unjust government.
Civil disobedience is the deliberate action against an unjust law to invoke a positive change in government and society. Civilians have the right to refute these types of unjust laws to eliminate inequality and government’s unjust nature by following conscience before laws for moral guidance. As demonstrated in Antigone, this is depicted by the daughter of Oedipus, who disobeys Creon’s law for the greater good because of the laws unjust nature. In Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist, promotes this concept as well through his philosophical standpoint of the flaws of the government. Lastly, in Dr. King’s letter he qualifies the idea of civilians disobeying their government through non violent campaigns to stand up against