Rhetorical Analysis: Citizen Rights Over Government

1999 Words8 Pages
Elizabeth Taylor English 2329-005 Toni Holland October 8, 2014 Citizen Rights Over Government 19th century was a time when new ideas where emerging allowing for old traditions to be questioned, ideas ranging from the concept of God to, most importantly, the Civil government governing society. Because of rapid growth and the Manifest Destiny in full effect, the United States government implemented laws seemingly to better the lives of Citizens.. In “Resistance to Civil Government,” Henry David Thoreau, through the supplementing of rhetoric including anaphora and diction, argues the ineffectiveness of the government. In addition to outlining the hypocrisy and corruption , Thoreau courageously dots the short comings, responsibilities, as well…show more content…
Meanwhile, the men in government who create war safely control the war from a distance. Thoreau compares the same soldiers as having “no more respect than men of straw, or a lump of dirt, with the same sort of worth only as horses and dog” (845). The undermining of society ,as well as soldiers whom are well respected in society, is a another use of metaphor to manipulate a revolutionary actions from the audience. Thoreau explains the way the government has and continues to use soldiers as tools, more accurately, machine for their own personal gain without any conscious moral compass (845). Yet, just as soldiers are considered “good citizens,” Thoreau points out that “most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the State with their heads, and, as they rarely make moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God” (845). Society is contradicting when righteous men are seem by society as enemies and put in jail. How is it that the government officials have the right to prosecute one wrong and tolerate corruption and greed on a daily basis within its…show more content…
A declaration solidified when Thoreau was put in prison for refusing to pay taxes, which was to help aid the Mexican War. For he feels that being forced to pay for something he does not believe to be moral can be said to be a form of slavery. Thoreau preaches that it is the responsibility of the people to come together and denounce the government. For “all men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable” (845). Thoreau makes a point of clarifying that it is not to early to rebel against a government one believes to be unjust. For it is not only the right of the individual but rather the duty to society. He acts on this theory when he declines to pay taxes to Massachusetts for he felt it unjust to pay aid in a war which the government initiated to gain control of more territory. For this reason he was sent to jail. For in his mind, paying taxes to the government is a form of slavery which seems contradicting because he was not considered a slave in the constitution (Carton). Thoreau continues his argument by alluding to the Paley, advising citizens to be rebellious no matter what it costs, saying “individuals must do justice, cost what it may” (846). For the price of justice is worth the inconvenience of attaining it. No amount of strain can equal the freedom of one's one

More about Rhetorical Analysis: Citizen Rights Over Government

Open Document