It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, nor the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconciliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it.
He well deserves to be called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution. Thoreau says that government does not, in fact, achieve that with which we credit it: After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.
He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. This, according to Paley, would be inconvenient.
Thoreau further argues that the United States fits his criteria for an unjust government, given its support of slavery and its practice of aggressive war.
A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart.
For purposes of clarity and readability, the essay has been divided into three sections here, though Thoreau himself made no such divisions. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him.
I please myself with imagining a State at least which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men.
Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, and would not be back till noon; so he bade me good-day, saying that he doubted if he should see me again.
I do not hear of men being forced to have this way or that by masses of men. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with- the dollar is innocent- but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance.
However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place without it.
This may be to judge my neighbors harshly; for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village. Thoreau argues that by answering to the majority, democracies answer the desires of the strongest group, not the most virtuous or thoughtful.
Soldiers become only a shadow of their humanity; the government shapes them into machines. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.
The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it differed one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment.
I was shown quite a long list of verses which were composed by some young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.
I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. O for a man who is a man, and, as my neighbor says, has a bone in his back which you cannot pass your hand through!
What sort of life were that to live? But, more generally, he ideologically dissociated himself from the government, "washing his hands" of it and refusing to participate in his institutions. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency.
His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case, lest his action be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men.
I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well, they are only ignorant; they would do better if they knew how: Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt?
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; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing; who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free trade, and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both.
Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should do something wrong.
As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. However, Thoreau then says that speaking "practically and as a citizen," he is not asking for the immediate elimination of government.
A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be:I have read Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedience and the - Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau work for it have a moral obligation to.
A summary of Section One in Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. must not allow to continue. Thoreau criticizes the attitude that civil obligation should. ― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and with evil is as much a moral obligation as is civil disobedience that won them their civil.
Henry David Thoreau It did not receive its present title of “Civil Disobedience Submission to Civil Government,” resolves all civil obligation. Civil Disobedience. By Henry David in his chapter on the "Duty of Submission to Civil Government," resolves all civil obligation into Henry Thoreau.
This module explores political obligation Kraditor discusses how such issues as moral suasion, civil disobedience, a moving essay on Henry David Thoreau.Download