David Henry Thoreau 's Civil Disobedience And Other Essays

David Henry Thoreau 's Civil Disobedience And Other Essays

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Next, we have David Henry Thoreau who wrote Civil Disobedience and Other Essays. In his famous speech, “Slavery in Massachusetts,” Thoreau is seen as a strident speaker in his opposition to slavery, overall not representing the prevailing view at the time and wanting to bring light to a new viewpoint. He is seen as the conscience of our nation through his goal of the betterment of mankind, overall wanting to create more humane ways in society, establish truth, and eliminate governmental inequity. Therefore in this speech, Thoreau emphasizes on individualism as well as his depiction of the lack of logic within the governmental law during the nineteenth century. He illustrates to the American audience that society is polluting man with the current government inequity. He states, “I have not read far in the statuses of this Commonwealth. It is not profitable reading. They do not always say what is true; and they do not always mean what they say. What I am concerned to know is, how the Governor’s influence and authority were on the side of the slaveholder, and not the slave – of the guilty, and not of the innocent – of injustice, and not of justice” (Thoreau 21). In this paragraph, we see Thoreau’s brilliant portrayal of the destruction of truth coming from the government. He questions the power and authority that they have over the individual and the choices they make, for they have no evidence or reasoning for their injustice towards the slaves. This shows Americans that they cannot trust the governmental decisions and their supposed authority over us. We can see him pushing for individualism throughout this work, as well as showing America the lack of logic of, what was the current law at the time, the Fugitive Slave Law (“Absurd a...


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...d male to male attraction. This helps to bring about new viewpoints on multiple different sexual relationships in America, such as homosexual relationships, which even today sometimes act as taboo subjects for most ordinary conversations. At the time of the publication these ideas were seen as new topics to the public. This overall set Whitman as establishing these points in his poetry as a way of trying to enlighten his audiences to a new perspective of overall equality and more human ways in America through American Literature. Looking over this piece, the American audience can discover what America was going through at the time of the nineteenth century by simply examining these new perspectives on sexual relationships and equality, which is why we still read about Whitman in American Literature and why he is seen as an important person within American Literature.

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