Choice of specific act[ edit ] Civil disobedients have chosen a variety of different illegal acts.
The Political Principles of Thoreau Henry David Thoreau was, in many ways, ahead of his time in his political beliefs. During his brief life, he lectured occasionally and struggled to get his writings published. Gaining very little recognition during his lifetime, his death in went virtually unnoticed, and his true genius as a social philosopher and writer was not fully recognized until the twentieth century.
Ironically, "Civil Disobedience," the anti-war, anti-slavery essay for which he is probably best known, has become a manual for social protest by giving support to the passive resistance of Mohandas Gandhi, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. On a deeper level, the essay was a general protest against any form of political injustice and an affirmation of the obligation of passive resistance, encouraging individuals to disobey any laws they felt were unjust.
In while living at Walden, Thoreau demonstrated the doctrine of passive resistance when he was arrested for not paying poll taxes because of his opposition to Texas entering the Union as a slave state and his opposition to the Mexican War.
He was robbed of the chance to test the tax when he was released from jail the next day after a relative paid what was owed. Desiring to make the public aware of the abolitionist cause, Thoreau composed an essay that considered the rights and duties of the individual in relation to government.
He noted that man is not bound to a government that legislates injustice. This essay was originally published in as "Resistance to Civil Government" and posthumously in as "Civil Disobedience" This carried to its natural conclusion is no government at all, which he says will happen when people are prepared.
Thoreau realizes that the immediate need is not for no government but for better government. Thoreau asks whether it is not better to decide right and wrong by conscience which everyone has.
The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right" Thoreau's strong objection to the Mexican War was voiced as a central argument in "Civil Disobedience" when he urged individuals to resist lending support to a cause they did not believe in, even if they were in the minority.
Not only should men refuse to fight in an unjust war, they should refuse to support the unjust government that conducts the war. Despite caring little for organized reform movements, Thoreau could not resist the cause of the abolitionists. Previously, he had helped some runaways and after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law that called for the capture and return of runaway slaves, he delivered his "Plea for Captain John Brown.
Thoreau's attitude toward reform involved his transcendental efforts to live a spiritually meaningful life in nature. Thoreau emphasized self-reliance, individuality, and anti-materialism and sharply questioned the basic assumptions of the way men lived.
He viewed transcendentalism as the religious and intellectual expression of American democracy: Works Cited Meltzer, Milton, ed. People, Principles, and Politics. Walden and Civil Disobedience.
By Henry David Thoreau.Henry David Thoreau was a twenty-year-old scholarship student at Harvard when he met Ralph Waldo Emerson in Emerson, fourteen years Thoreau's senior and independently wealthy, had recently shaken the intellectual world of New England with the publication of Nature.
Henry David Thoreau's essay "Resistance to Civil Government" was eventually renamed "Essay on Civil Disobedience".After his landmark lectures were published in , the term began to appear in numerous sermons and lectures relating to slavery and the war in Mexico.
—Robert Sattelmeyer, Thoreau’s Reading The Unique Individual Creates Scripture There is a rare bridging in the Gita poet and Thoreau between the way they draw on all scripture or at least great books, on the one hand, and, on the other, their creation of new scripture—in other words, between their signally original uniqueness and their.
To introduce students to Thoreau's dry ironic humor, read and discuss with them the hilarious story of Thoreau, the vegetarian, talking to the farmer with his ox (p7, last paragraph).
Thoreau's puns are a frequent source of humor in Walden. Let students identify a few of these.
In “Civil Disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau also writes about the hypocrisy of American government. Like Douglass, Thoreau writes about how slaves are treated. Both Douglass and Thoreau support the abolition of slavery, and the acknowledgement that slaves are men just as much as whites are men.
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