Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
The Duty of Civil Disobedience
By Henry David Thoreau
(The New England essayist, 18171862, author of Walden, went to prison because he refused to pay taxes to a government which returned fugitive slaves to the South. It is narrated that Emerson came to him and asked, Henry, what are you doing in here? Waldo, was the answer, what are you doing out of here?)
UNDER a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less desponding spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race, should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her but against herthe only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.
If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person.