Henry David Thoreau's Resistance To Civil Disobedience

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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…show more content…
Thoreau painstakingly reminds the individual of the universal principle that is all people, regardless of race, color or beliefs, deserve to live lives free from the tyranny of oppression and he who does not help grant this freedom to those oppressed, is equally as damned as he who enforced it. Thoreau expanded on this idea, “There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them…they hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest, and with effect.” Clearly, Thoreau’s insistence is that rebuking evil is a much a moral obligation as is praising the good. In fact, he insisted, “If one honest man, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this copartnership, and be locked up in the country jail therefore, it would be the abolition of slavery in America.” Such a drastic and frank statement from Thoreau only proves how steadfast he was in his beliefs that the individual could bring forth great change. Every functioning member of society deserves the chance to make a compelling difference in the lives of those around them, regardless of factors such as race. For it is those who do not protest who aid in the condemnation.
Thoreau sought to embed feelings of anger in the morality of the individual towards inaction. Thoreau taunted, “If we were left solely to the wordy wit of
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