Civil Disobedience, By Henry David Thoreau

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media against a president they cannot accept. Nonviolent resistance has, in many ways, defined the resistance to authoritarian governments and decisions in the past century or so. But is it the most effective way to defeat authoritarian governments? Doesn’t defeating a truly authoritarian government -- a government led by a ruthless leader like Hitler -- require violence? Is using nonviolent resistance actually a way to acquiesce to the controlling powers, a way to show weakness?
In his 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience,” American writer Henry David Thoreau explained he had refused to pay his poll tax to the U.S. government for six years because he opposed the U.S. engaged in war with Mexico. This kind of “civil disobedience,” Thoreau
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Then I moved into looking at specific ways people resisted in that time, particularly in the Nazi regime, by reading Sharon B. Brysac’s 2000 New York Times article, “At last, recognition and praise for the resistance in Nazi Germany” and Lester Kurtz’s 2010 essay, published by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, “The anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa (1912-1992).” In all that reading, I began to develop some curiosity about how and where nonviolent resistance is working in today’s world, so I read M.J. Stephan and E. Chenoweth’s 2008 article, published by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, “Why civil resistance works,” and Steven Harper’s 2017 article, published by Moyers & Company, “The Trump resistance plan: Step 1 -- understanding the three D’s.” I read David Frum’s 2017 article, “How to build an autocracy,” published in The Atlantic, to understand similarities political scientists are noticing between some of the rising governments and historic autocracies. Finally, I wanted to explore ways some science fiction writers have imagined our futures, if we fail to resist authoritarian governments, so I watched the 2006 film Children of men, directed by A. Cuaron, and I read the 2000 novel Parable of the sower, by Octavia F. Butler. It was only in viewing and reading science fiction that I began to understand: the point of nonviolent resistance is not to win everything today (although of course that
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