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. 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
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.
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
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 born and raised in Concord, was a popular student in Harvard. Despite his financial and health deformities he was able to graduate from the university. By 1837 America was facing an economic depression and jobs were not easily available. Thoreau began to write poems and essays of transcendentalism to escape from the development and also to emphasize on nature. Therefore, he spent two years in Walden Pond (Schneider, 2013).
As society faced great inequities in the 19th and 20th centuries, activists and philosophers sought to inform the general public. At the turn of the 19th century, Thoreau presented his writing of a "Civil Disobedience" as an argument of the injustices of the tyrannical government after spending a night in jail. Likewise, Martin Luther King Jr. presented his argument to society as he was jailed in 1963. In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," King perceives the injustice of the African American community as a primary goal as to the need for the advocation of the whole population. Whereas in Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," it addresses the injustices in broader terms and stresses the despotic government. Both King and Thoreau address these arguments in similar and divergent fashions through the use of purpose, and persuasive writing styles.
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.
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.”
Henry David Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (first presented in 1848 and first published 1849) insists, — “That government is best which governs least”, or alternatively, — “That government is best which governs not at all.” Thoreau develops and supports his thesis statement by explaining what government is at best (an expedient) and usually is (inexpedient), and by giving a specific and current example to his readers. The author’s purpose was to educate the masses regarding civil disobedience, teaching them not only that it’s allowed, but that it’s a duty upon them in order to create an ideal government or even world. Thoreau’s intended audience is clearly the people who, as Thoreau himself said, “would not have consented to
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.”
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
One idea from Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience that can be applied to life and society today is the prospect of not allowing Government to have absolute control in your life, and don’t let it manipulate you. Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience while being imprisoned for something he viewed as incorrect. Whilst in prison, he unloaded his resentment to the government into this story. He encourages everyone to have their own sets of views, and regardless of what the Government says is true or not, stick to your personal views. In a quote from Civil Disobedience, Thoreau says, “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect…” (Thoreau 370). The quote explains that the individuals within a nation should be free to decide without
10/27/15 Henry David Thoreau is known as one of the most influential writers of all time. His ideology is idolized by many writers including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In civil disobedience, Thoreau expresses his strong dislike for the United States government and his opposition to slavery and the Mexican War. Thoreau believes everyone has the responsibility to fight against unjust laws. He spent a night in jail because he refused to pay taxes to support the Mexican war.
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.
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.
Throughout Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” it is evident that his stance on wealth is firm. He believes that “the rich man…is always sold to the institution which makes him rich” (Thoreau 9). The rich are said to be the ones less likely to practice civil disobedience because they have conformed to the government, prospering under it. On the other hand, Thoreau is not entirely hateful towards the wealthy. He explains that “the best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor” (Thoreau 10). Because the rich are normally those who have power, his stance on that particular matter put him in a dangerous position. Thoreau had great influence on future leaders.