Essay on Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Walden

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Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American philosopher, author, poet, abolitionist, and naturalist. He was famous for his essay, “Civil Disobedience”, and his book, Walden. He believed in individual conscience and nonviolent acts of political resistance to protest unfair laws. Moreover, he valued the importance of observing nature, being individual, and living in a simple life by his own values. His writings later influenced the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. In “Civil Disobedience” and Walden, he advocated individual nonviolent resistance to the unjust state and reflected his simple living in the nature. In “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau stated that government should be expedient and conscientious. He started…show more content…
Thoreau believed that the government should not be ruled by the minority just because “they are physically the strongest,” instead, we should be ruled by conscience. Furthermore, Thoreau stated that “…a corporation has no conscience,” because the corporation only cared about money, without caring about the multitude. This is still happening even nowadays. For instance, the cigarette companies are still selling cigarettes to the multitude even though they know that there are some carcinogenic materials in cigarettes that smoking cigarettes can cause cancers. They only care about money, without caring about the people who buy their products. As a result, most of the corporations had no conscience. Besides, people should also be conscientious. We should use our brains to think before we act. For example, the soldiers of the army had no conscience because they act like machines without thinking what they were doing. “The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines.” In brief, Thoreau believed that we should be ruled by conscience instead of the inexpedient government which had no conscience. Besides, we should do something to stop the “machine.” Thoreau believed that we should fight against injustice through non-violence, instead of being neither acquiescent nor using physical violence. “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.” This meant that we should stop the government and corporations that had no conscience. He deemed that
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