Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man. At most, they give up only a cheap voteand a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. The individual must not support the structure of government, must act with principle, must break the law if necessary.
Politics and politicians act as though the universe were ruled by expediency. It must help itself; do as I do. The Mexican War is an example of a few people using the government as their tool. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.
But it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it. There will never be a "really free and enlightened State" until the state recognizes the preeminence of the individual.
Thoreau asserts that he does not want to quarrel or to feel superior to others. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.
It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey.
I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. I am willing to leave it to the majority. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail.
I was not born to be forced. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.
Because of this, it is "not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize". They only can force me who obey a higher law than I.
But we love better to talk about it: Government is only an expedient — a means of attaining an end. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other.
Throughout his life, Thoreau emphasized the importance of individuality and self-reliance.Civil Disobedience Questions and Answers - Discover the ultimedescente.com community of teachers, mentors and students just like you that can answer any question you might have on Civil Disobedience.
ON THE DUTY OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE By Henry David Thoreau Walden Economy When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore. The lecture was published under the title "Resistance to Civil Government" in Elizabeth Peabody's Aesthetic Papers, in May It was included (as "Civil Disobedience") in Thoreau's A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers, published in Boston in by Ticknor and Fields, and reprinted many times.
Civil disobedience is the deliberate disobeying of a law to advance a moral principle or change government policy. It may be confined to breaking only particular laws which are considered unjust, as in the civil rights movement in the USA in the s.
It is thought that this night in jail prompted Thoreau to write Civil Disobedience. Thoreau delivered the first draft of the treatise as an oration to the Concord Lyceum inand the text was published in under the title Resistance to Civil Government. 4 A Teacher’s Guide to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and “Civil Disobedience” sYnoPsIs of THe essaY naTURe of GoveRnmenT In the opening of “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau expresses his opinion about govern-ment, its nature and legitimacy.Download