Henry David Thoreau's Resistance To Civil Government

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If a person were to resist or disobey authority, would they do it in a nonviolent, civilized manner? Or in a chaotic, destructive way? In the month of July, in 1846, a year after he had traveled to Walden Pond to escape civilization and to find his own purpose in life, Henry David Thoreau had spent a night in jail. He protested the Mexican war by refusing to pay a tax poll, which he believed was financing the war. Though, in his opinion, he felt he was the only one really paying his taxes. This night was the inspiration for his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government”, where he talks of an individual’s responsibility to his or her own conscience over the commands of the law. Years later, Mohandas K. Gandhi led a prolonged Satyagraha campaign…show more content…
He feels that “It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished” (270). He continues by saying that the people could have done more, if the government had not interfered. Furthermore, he believes the government rarely proves itself convenient. He carries on, arguing that, “…when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they are most likely to be right…but because they are physically the strongest” (270). Which, basically means, the government acquires its power from the majority. Moreover, it means they do not have a fair viewpoint. Such as, not having the best interest of the people, but rather for themselves. In addition, he argues that people should do what they believe is right and not follow what the majority say. For example, like, the laws they make or policies they force upon the people. Even more, if the government is unjust, people should refuse to follow the law. Like what Thoreau had said, people are not obligated to “devote himself to the eradication”, but it is his “duty” to no longer give his support (271). Of course, he was not the only one to think like

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