Henry David Thoreau 's Civil Disobedience

Decent Essays

In Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau makes the claim that the best form of government is a government that doesn’t govern at all. Thoreau’s paper pushes for the people to begin following the will of their conscience rather than blindly and foolishly follow the unjust idea of “majority rule”. Throughout the paper Thoreau makes a point of stating that “majority rule” is simply the will of the upper-class being forced into action over the rights and wills of the poorer minority. This paper openly criticizes and condemns many institutions and policies of the American National government. Because Thoreau wrote this paper during the Mexican-American War he uses in it, in addition to slavery, to reinforce his statement of all political decisions merely being the wills of the strongest citizens put into action. For the purpose of this assignment the paper has been divided into three significant parts, Thoreau did not have these divisions. In the third part of Thoreau’s paper he begins writing about his own acts of “civil disobedience”. He moves from his discussion of his night in jail, talked about in the second part, to his various reasons for accepting or refusing to pay certain taxes. From here Thoreau continues to state that he is not sure how long he can maintain his resolve to deny the government, stating that he is in constant search of a reason to follow its laws. Thoreau then explains that the reason he did not follow the conventional paths of reform is

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