From the start of man fighting for freedom or his beliefs, the question has consistently been whether a person can wage a battle using words rather than actions. The notion of civil disobedience would seem to be an inept weapon against political inequity; history, however, has persistently proven it to be the most dynamic weapon of the individual. By refusing to pay his taxes and subsequently being imprisoned, Henry David Thoreau demonstrated this very defiance. Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government conveys the effectiveness of the individual conscience, renounces hypocrisy, and cultivates a sense of urgency where inaction creates a moral conflict. This path of responsibility paved by Thoreau gave our leaders of today the means they
Civil Disobedience has been around for hundreds of years. This a practice first put into play by a man by the name of Henry David Thoreau who believed that if you didn’t agree with a rule then you should act against it in a nonviolent way, and be willing to accept any punishment that comes with it. His teachings were followed by famous activists such as Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jr., and many others.
Civil disobedience has been used to peacefully protest for change for decades. The idea that it is acceptable to rebel against injustice is one that is fundamental to the very start of our nation. The American Revolution, while not a non-violent rebellion, is an example of fighting for something that is believed to be right. It is from here that the idea of civil disobedience stemmed, and from here which it grew. Henry David Thoreau illustrated the need for civil disobedience when he said, “The authority of government… [,] to be strictly just must have the consent of the governed.” The changes that have been brought about by this kind of peaceful protest have changed our world for the better. I believe that civil disobedience is something that
In “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau begins the essay using logos and ends the essay using pathos by giving personal examples of why men should follow their consciences rather than laws that do not support their moral beliefs. In the second part of this essay, Thoreau states “I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account”(Thoreau). After establishing with reason and logic that government should support citizens, rather than citizens supporting the government, Thoreau gives an example of how he refused to pay taxes to a government that allowed slavery. By showing that he was willing to go to jail, Thoreau builds his credibility because he takes action in accordance with his beliefs instead of just writing them.
Thoreau's Civil Disobedience talks about politics, government and the issues concerning these areas today. "Government is best which governs least." This motto means that the government should not have complete power over the people. The people's opinion is what matters the most. Individualism is stressed throughout his writing. To stand up for what you believe in and not bend backwards for the government is necessary. He speaks of Slavery and the war in Mexico and how is must be put to a stop. The people are responsible for this happening. Many people opposed these things yet did nothing to change it. Allowing yourself to be a part of injustice makes you a part of the negativity. Paying taxes to a corrupt government makes you
When your human rights are being stripped, it is a great way to change society, as we see in Gandhi’s peaceful revolt. However, in many cases it is not necessary. It would do even more damage, especially if there are other, safer and more human ways for addressing concerns. Laws would be threatened as well as American infrastructure and economy. Through this, civil disobedience requires us to examine the situation. It requires intelligent people to sacrifice something for the greater good, and when it is necessary. The people thinking about disobeying must ask the question “is the law I am being pushed under unjust?” before performing the act. As Gandhi once said “An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and
In his “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau argued that the nation shouldn’t let themselves be governed by their inexpedient government. Thoreau was calling the common man to practice civil disobedience by not paying taxes. Thoreau included an anecdote to dramatize and help explain his night in jail as result
Throughout history and in today’s society, people have always done what they felt to be right. In Henry David Thoreau “Civil Disobedience” he stated “The only obligation which I have a right to assume, is to do at any time what I think right.” Although doing what you believe to be right may feel right, it’s not always the best decision in all situations. There are many situations where doing what you feel to be right can benefit you, but can affect others negatively. Thoreau believed that following the law, created by most of the people can be morally and socially wrong. A person should not feel it is their obligation to follow a law they don’t believe in; that would be giving up their individual consciences. People should always do what they personally believe is right.
If we take a closer look at civil disobedience, we can better understand what it means, its goals, and its outcomes. Civil disobedience predominantly exists as direct and non-violent government defiance. Instead of voicing an opinion with a vote or a simple conversation, civil disobedience stands up for what is right using an individual’s whole influence. Therefore, some sacrifices regarding the legality of actions are made in order to preserve the integrity of the mission. In other words, why should a protester follow the law that they are trying to alter? That doesn’t make much sense, therefore civil disobedience allows unjust laws to be broken for the greater good. This method is very effective if, for example, a minority is attempting to
To start, Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience has influenced many Americans over the years to fight for what they believe in. . Civil Disobedience has motivated many people to speak out against government policies which they disagree with. Thoreau points out by saying, “The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.”Thoreau is arguing that governments can get corrupted and depraved but the people need to speak out and try to make things
Overall, Civil Disobedience is an important part of the United States and what it is. If America did not have the laws protecting those who had protested against the crimes of the government, it would not have made the progress that it has. Civil Disobedience is a part of the American Dream and must be protected as
There are many different authors who believe that civil disobedience is not the way to go, that it does not solve anything. For example, Robert A. Goldwin writes in “The Case against Civil Disobedience” how “civil disobedience … is an altogether secondary and derivative matter…” He goes on about how civil disobedience is a way for people who want to stand up for their rights can without any harsh punishment and if these people are too scared to do anything violent. Though Goldwin makes a good point about the unimportance of civil disobedience, the fact is that civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the refusal to obey civil laws in an effort to induce change in governmental policy or legislation. Thoreau 's infamous ideas on "Civil Disobedience," written in 1849, have been monumental in the fight for change. It has helped influence change anywhere from the 1940s fight against Danish resistance, to the 1950s and McCarthyism. Thoreau 's words have helped lead the way to freedom. It has made the people of the world think about how they are being governed and how they are being treated. Thoreau 's message of freedom in “Civil Disobedience”, transcend his own time to be so influential to those throughout history for three main reasons which are that he is read around the world, it had to do with helping yourself, and he connected it to real life.
Civil Disobedience: The Tools of Progress Since the beginning of days, peaceful protests have pushed the world along. Many people view civil disobedience as a violent action that hardly ever succeeds. However, true civil disobedience, the peaceful protestation of laws, is extremely helpful to society. When those who are oppressed show discontent without violence it is easier for the oppressor to see the other side. Truly peaceful protests achieve change while violent ones only serve as an excuse to dismiss a cause as dangerous or unprofessional.