Thoreau S Civil Disobedience Essay
Thoreau had some serious problems with he way the United States was run. He was an outspoken opponent of slavery and bitterly opposed the Mexican-American War, which he viewed as an act of American aggression. In protest, Thoreau refused to pay his poll taxes. He spent a night in jail for this offense in 1848. Henry David Thoreau uses examples of The Rhetorical Triangle, literary devices to prove his point that the government is controlling the people, in his essay titled “Civil Disobedience.
This essay will show Thoreau uses The Rhetorical Triangle, literary devices, and his own experience to show how the government intros the people of the United States of America. Henry David Thoreau uses many examples of the logos, ethos and pathos appeals in his essay titled “Civil Disobedience”. Thoreau uses multiple analogies presenting logical appeal, or logos, throughout his essay. In particular, Thoreau compares the government to a standing army, “objections which have been brought about against a standing army, and there are many, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought about against a standing government.
Thoreau point is that our Constitution states that raising or avian a standing army during times of peace is illegal and unconstitutional, so government should be as well. Thoreau uses logical reasoning to prove his opinion that government is useless and takes power away from citizens. Thoreau uses credible evidence, ethos, to back up his thesis as well. An example of credible evidence is when Thoreau uses the Mexican war as an example of an “abused and perverted” government.
Thoreau claims that the American citizens would not have wanted to engage in such an aggressive war if government had not pushed the issue. He uses the war as an example f a domineering government when he states “witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. ” Lastly, Thoreau draws on emotional appeals to further his point. He speaks on the immense quality of American character, and how the government has stood in the way of this character.
Thoreau draws on emotional appeals when stating “the character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have one somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. ” Thoreau claims that the American population could have done more, but the government controlled them, so the American citizens could reach their full potential. Thoreau uses many examples of literary devices in his essay titled “Civil Disobedience” to show how the government controls the citizens of America.
Throughout his writing there were multiple examples of Imagery. “The rooms were white – washed once a month Thoreau used imagery to explain the setting in his jail cell, along with use of metaphors, in order to tell the audience about how his punishment truly wasn’t that bad. He said that the jail cell was almost like an apartment, and the whole thing was almost just like a city, backing up the idea that being in jail isn’t even a punishment. He does this in Order to persuade the people into standing up when it is their duty as a society to do so and revolt against the government.
Thoreau also uses examples of metaphors in his essay, to show how the citizens are being treated incorrectly. Thoreau says in his essay, ‘The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their iodides. ” Thoreau is saying in this quote that the amount of citizens out numbers the government, so if the people stop doing what the government is doing the machine will stop working. Personification is another example of how Thoreau use literary devices to show how the government is controlling the people of the U. S. A.
Thoreau says, “The state which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon her sister. ” This quote shows how people are anxious to fight the government because they are so strong compared to the people. By my opinion, I believe that Henry David Thoreau claims in this essay are laid and I agree with him. The definition of Civil Disobedience is the refusal to obey certain laws or governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy, characterized by the employment of such nonviolent techniques as boycotting, picketing, and nonpayment of taxes. Live that Thoreau uses civil disobedience to prove the point that he is making. When Thoreau was thrown in jail for not paying poll taxes, he was showing civil disobedience. Thoreau showed facts about how the government was controlling the people, one of those facts was the Mexican-American War. Most people during the time of the Mexican-American War, did not want it to happen because it wasted their resources. Also the Mexican-American War led to an increase in slavery because they needed soldiers to fight the war.