Essay PreviewMore ↓
“Resistance to Civil Government” is a work of political philosophy where Thoreau lays out a plan for the way he believes the American government and society should be structured. The essay discusses the relation between the individual and society. This essay acts as a plea for individuals to follow their conscience when civil law causes a conflict. Thoreau calls for a conscious rebellion to bring about a radical change in the American constitution; a revolution against the American government. This notion of peaceable revolution is the moral center of this essay.
By refusing to pay taxes he is not objecting the taxes specific use, he is refusing allegiance to the state as a whole. Thoreau does not advocate complete defiance of democracy with his protest as he willingly accepts the consequences of breaking the law. Because Thoreau chooses his integrity over compliance he feels freer in jail than the people outside who follow the law like sheep rather than thinking and acting for themselves. He accepts the consequence of imprisonment for not paying his lawful tax, believing that by being imprisoned he is forcing the government to consider whether he is in the right by practicing civil disobedience. Thoreau wishes to be separate from the American government because it supports slavery. Thoreau chastises the government.
Thoreau pictures a utopian society where a person’s conscience is a higher rule than that of the law.
How to Cite this Page
"Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Apr 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Favorites Thoreau, boldly strides to the podium of the American society, as he addresses his audience with the theory of the American government and how it operates. Indeed, Henry David Thoreau is far from bashful, and speaks sincerely, in the narrative entitled “Civil Disobedience”. Thoreau presents an astonishing approach concerning the wellbeing of humanity, and clarifies that all citizens have a responsibility to achieve change, when the government impulse cause grief or inconvenient circumstances among society.... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience]
1038 words (3 pages)
- Throughout the course of history people across the world have protested and fought for what they believed in. Henry David Thoreau, after spending a night in jail for failure to pay the poll tax, wrote a well-known essay titled “Resistance to Civil Government,” which was later renamed “Civil Disobedience.” Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedience would later influence generations of activists including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi (Mass Moments: Henry David Thoreau Spends Night in Jail).... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience]
705 words (2 pages)
- Although they bear some smashing similarities, the difference between Socrates and Thoreau’s arguments are they both believe that humans are only virtuous beings. And that their views on people and the government are divergent. In “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, he wrote an essay in 1849 about the American policies being criticized it argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or impair their consciences, and how the American slavery and Mexican-American war was going on.... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience, Plato]
714 words (2 pages)
- Throughout a series of books, and now movies known as Divergent they hit a lot of points as to what is believed as a “good society”. In the series, Divergent all must conform and fall into a certain category Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, or Amity . If one fails to do so, and falls into all of the categories they are known as “Divergent," and must be killed for failing to conform to traditional society standards and rules. This relates to Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, because he talks about humans not needing a form of structure set by a hierarchy, such as a government.... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience]
1024 words (2.9 pages)
- Henry David Thoreau starts Civil Disobedience with “I heartily accept the motto— “That government is best which governs the least,” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically” (para. 1). The impression that I got when I read this first sentence is that he had some issues with how the government works. His statement, “That government is best which governs not at all,” somehow sent me an impression that he does not want a government when in fact he just does not want how the government is structured so he calls for its reformation.... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience]
1224 words (3.5 pages)
- Henry David Thoreau was born in a time where the government is not progressing, because they do not respect the rights of all individuals. In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau shows his readers how useless the government was at the time. In government where they demand obedience from its people, even allowing some individuals to enslave each other. Men that work for the State are unable to practice their moral beliefs in human law, because State laws prevent from doing what is right. Although, Thoreau does believe that one individual can effect a major social change.... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience]
908 words (2.6 pages)
- Henry David Thoreau starts to become dysfunctional with the government when he’s detained and spends a night in jail. He decides to write an essay titled “Civil Disobedience” where he criticizes the government for certain criteria and says which areas can be improved at. Thoreau’s areas of improvement are centered through the ideas of ethics and the relationship between the individual and the state. Thoreau wrote three parts in this essay; each part having the same agenda but in several of different explanations.... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Civil disobedience]
1122 words (3.2 pages)
- When it comes to civil rights, there are two pieces of literature commonly discussed. One of these pieces is Henry David Thoreau’s persuasive lecture On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. In this work, Thoreau discusses how one must combat the government with disobedience of unjust laws and positive friction to create change. The second piece is the commonly known article Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. This letter covers the ways in which peaceful protest and standing up against injustice can lead to positive results.... [tags: Civil disobedience, Henry David Thoreau]
1261 words (3.6 pages)
- “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau was a means of educating people on why they should not settle for a less than perfect government. Thoreau’s work is a reminder that it is our duty to throw off an unsatisfactory government, as stated by Thomas Jefferson in the “Declaration of Independence.” Civil Disobedience touches on the subject of why people choose to do nothing about a government they are unhappy with. People fear the consequences they might suffer if they do interfere with the current government.... [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]
1167 words (3.3 pages)
- "That government is best which governs least." Or is it. Should the American people be free to rebel against laws they consider unjust. Henry David Thoreau addresses these issues in his essay, Civil Disobedience. Thoreau wholeheartedly accepts the declaration that the government is best which governs least, and would like to see it acted upon. One day, he hopes, we will be able to carry it out to the point where men can have a government that does not govern at all. Government "never of itself furthered any enterprise".... [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Constitution]
1158 words (3.3 pages)