Civil Disobedience and Other Essays Response Questions

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Question Responses to Henry David Thoreau 's Civil Disobedience

6 claims Henry David Thoreau made in his essay: • "I heartily accept the motto,__ 'That government is best which governs least; ' and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically." (Page one; Section one)

My thoughts: This is the very first sentence in Henry Thoreau 's essay Civil Disobedience. His claim that government is best when it governs the least is explained though out the first part of his essay. By this claim he means that by a government acting less by laws and more by moral and conscience judgment it would lead to a better nation. He claims that IF people ,citizens of the United States, started acting on our conscience (the
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Here he compares the government to a civilian tax collector. Saying that he only sees him once a year and at that time the tax collector taunts him with the fact that he, as a person of the United States, has to follow this law no matter how immoral or unjust he thinks it is. Even now a tax collector is someone no one looks forward to seeing but at this time, when the government was still being questioned on immoral and unjust laws, when the people of the United States were questioning if they needed a government at all, tax collectors where an "unnecessary" necessary. Meaning that yes they were there for a reason but the people never understood their purpose. By Thoreau claiming that a tax collector represented his government he implies that the government is mainly after his money and will go to many lengths to get it. Meaning that in someway or the other a government like this one is an "unnecessary" necessary.

• "The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and
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