Henry David Thoreau and Resistance to Civil Government

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Henry David Thoreau was the most active participant in the Transcendentalist motion. He was a pupil and mentee of Ralph Waldo Emerson. While Emerson had nonnatural thoughts. Thoreau would move on them and to the full pattern them. Hence. he felt that he and others should defy America’s Civil Government. I heartily accept the slogan. “That authorities is best which governs least” ; and I should wish to see it acted up to more quickly and consistently. ( Thoreau ) Thoreau starts out his celebrated essay with the statement that authorities should be weak and the people strong.

He was a strong advocator of the person the rights of the person. To him. a individual should be self reliant. as Emerson taught. He felt that the more citizens relied on their authorities for their demands. so the stronger the authorities would go and that could be unsafe. He felt that being controlled by a authorities. or anything else for that affair. was a calamity in a person’s life. The chief ground that Thoreau wrote Resistance to Civil Government was because he was wholly tired of a authorities that could let bondage to be.

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Slavery was an establishment in the Southern states where people really owned African Americans. He felt that if it was incorrect for a authorities to hold to much power over the single and his/her rights. so certainly it was incorrect for another human to have another. In the establishment of bondage. the slave has no rights at all. Slaves were made to work highly difficult. Thoreau had nil against difficult work for an individual’s ain autonomy. but the slave did non profit from his/her work.

The proprietor reaped all of the net income. They did non acquire to take their profession. it was illegal to learn them to read or compose. many proprietors beat them. and they could be sold off from their households at any clip. The proprietor controlled everything about them even life and decease. Slavery went against everything that Thoreau believed about authorities and the person. If it was true that it authorities should hold as small control as possible. so it was an abomination that this sort of power could command another.

Thoreau was so aghast that a authorities that claimed in its fundamental law that all work forces were created equal. could turn a blind oculus to the establishment of bondage. He decided that since his revenue enhancement dollars went to a authorities that supported such an establishment. he would no longer pay his revenue enhancements. He hoped that he could animate others who proclaimed abolitionist ideas would make the same. However. they did non. In fact when Emerson came to the gaol to post his bond. he asked Thoreau why he was in gaol. Thoreau responded by inquiring Emerson why he was non in there with him.

Thoreau’s thought of civil noncompliance to a authorities that is non of the people has been successful for several coevalss after Thoreau’s decease. He impacted the lives of such great work forces as Ghandi and the Reverend Martin Luther King. Jr. King used Thoreau’s method and turned a state around and forced it to acknowledge the civil rights of all people by Resistance to Civil Government. Thoreau and his thought of peaceable protest will stay an affectional manner to alter authoritiess for coevalss to come.

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Henry David Thoreau and Resistance to Civil Government. (2017, Sep 07). Retrieved from


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