Development of Transcendentalism

901 WordsJul 16, 20184 Pages
Our country observes non-violent protest every day, whether it be through strikes, meetings, or marches. Many of these demonstrations have proved to be effective, and have gained respect over time. However, while philosophies of civil dispute and nonviolence may seem like a well-accepted idea today, many who fought for this type of negotiation were often considered radical for their introduction of it to society. Among those transcendentalists was Henry David Thoreau, who wrote “Civil Disobedience”, Mohandas Gandhi, who wrote “Satyagraha”, and Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote “Letters from Birmingham Jail”. Henry David Thoreau used the theory of transcendentalism in “Civil Disobedience.” These three transcendentalists influenced the…show more content…
Thoreau expresses his frustration towards the law and by simply asking “Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience” (Thoreau392)? Refusing to pay the tax is one of the ways he can show that this is something he does not approve. He simply states that “If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood”(Thoreau 395). This belief in no violence is a big thing for transcendentalists. Reading an excerpt from Gandhi’s “Satyagraha” we find many similarities to the ideas found in Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”. One of these similarities would be how Gandhi is for the non-violence. Just like in “Civil Disobedience” Gandhi emphasizes on doing the right thing, and standing up for what you believe in. He states with full confidence, “Award us for it what punishment you like, we will put up with it. Send us to prison and we will live there as in a paradise” (Gandhi 401). He goes on and talks about all the terrible things they could do to them, but Gandhi stands his ground. He is willing to die for what’s right. Just like how Thoreau stood up to the law Gandhi did the same. He told them that “We will gladly die and will not so much as touch you. But so long as there is yet life in these our bones, we will never comply with your arbitrary laws” (Thoreau 401). Both
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