Essay on The General Argument Made By Henry David Thoreau

Essay on The General Argument Made By Henry David Thoreau

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The general argument made by Henry David Thoreau in his work, Civil Disobedience, is that we should not follow laws that we do not morally agree to. More specifically, Thoreau argues that the government should not be heavily involved with people and should give more freedom. He writes “I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up.” In this passage, Thoreau is suggesting that you shouldn’t do anything that you don’t believe is right, much like him paying a poll-tax. In conclusion, Thoreau’s belief is that you are not obligated to do anything the government tells you to do if it morally bothers you.
In my view, Thoreau is correct, because if you keep following what the government tells you to do, you will become a mindless sheep. More specifically, I believe that any laws that interfere with human freedom or hurt another group of people should be broken until they are abolished. For example, segregation. Segregation is supposed to separate but equal, but just by looking at photographs, you could tell this was not true. I would have broken these segregation laws over and over again until the government abolished them. Although Thoreau might object that I shouldn’t involve myself in a law that doesn’t affect me, I maintain that it would morally bother me. Therefore, I conclude that laws that absolutely violate a people 's natural rights should be subjected to being broke...


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...ddle man, he wants the government to meet him halfway there. He doesn’t believe that the government should be completely out of the picture, but he does believe it’s laws and tactics towards the people are not efficient enough. He starts the sentence with “to speak practically”. Which means this could be not what he one hundred percent feels, but what he thinks is the most reasonable solution.
In conclusion, Thoreau seems to be very anti-government. He doesn’t think that the government is doing a very good job and the people should do something about it. His stance against somethings are a bit excessive. For example not paying a poll-tax for six years. This shouldn’t be something that morally affects you, and it doesn’t really hurt anybody. Some people may hate paying taxes, but they still do it anyways. It’s a small law that could be overlooked, it’s not big deal.

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