Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau Essay

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"That government is best which governs least." Or is it? Should the American people be free to rebel against laws they consider unjust? Henry David Thoreau addresses these issues in his essay, Civil Disobedience. Thoreau wholeheartedly accepts the declaration that the government is best which governs least, and would like to see it acted upon. One day, he hopes, we will be able to carry it out to the point where men can have a government that does not govern at all. Government "never of itself furthered any enterprise". He claims that the character of the American people, rather than the government, has kept the country free, settled the west and educated the people. If the government had not interfered, the people would have…show more content…
Law, rather than making men more just, makes them agents of injustice - for example, soldiers fighting even though they believe it wrong. This turns the men into machines that should command no respect; yet we esteem them as good citizens. This, he says, is not right.
The writers of the Constitution chose to have majority rule be a major part of the government so that the government would immediately reflect the desires of the people and so that minorities with crazy ideas would not be able to take over. They believed that the majority would be the most right group of people in the nation; and that the majority would decide right by conscience. In addition, the United States government is not a government based on justice, it is a government based on law. Any government based on justice would involve someone examining each specific scenario and deciding what was just. The founding fathers wanted to avoid this kind of government, as it was based on the opinion of a few people, and if these people became corrupted, they could have unlimited power. The founding fathers chose instead to enact a system of laws to which everyone would be held - even the government leaders. If the majority of people are following the teachings of the Bible, then the 'right' decided by the majority should be synonymous with the right decided by conscience; and this was the original intent of the founding fathers.
Since the government we now live under is not
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