If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. 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.
We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not materially wiser or better than the many.
If a man who has no property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State, he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I know, and determined only by the discretion of those who placed him there; but if he should steal ninety times nine shillings from the State, he is soon permitted to go at large again.
Having developed the image of the government as a machine that may or may not do enough good to counterbalance what evil it commits, he urges rebellion. But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute force, but partly a human force, and consider that I have relations to those millions as to so many millions of men, and not of mere brute or inanimate things, I see that appeal is possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of them, and, secondly, from them to themselves.
I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, near at home, cooperate with, and do the bidding of those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived.
On Civil Disobedience is another common title. Thoreau and other Northern critics of the war viewed it as a plot by Southerners to expand slavery into the Southwest.
Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? It makes it worse. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil.
Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour. Why has every man a conscience, then? Only action — what you do about your objection — matters. I am willing to leave it to the majority.
I cannot help that. Even voting, he argues, is basically worthless. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.
I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. Again, I sometimes say to myself, When many millions of men, without heat, without ill will, without personal feeling of any kind, demand of you a few shillings only, without the possibility, such is their constitution, of retracting or altering their present demand, and without the possibility, on your side, of appeal to any other millions, why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute force?
If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find a complete list. The expression of opposition to slavery is meaningless.
How many men are there to a square thousand miles in this country? Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. In Julythe sheriff arrested and jailed Thoreau for his tax delinquency.
Inthe United States declared war against Mexico. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. I never had seen its institutions before.
In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can, as is usual in such cases. I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them.
Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform.
For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be:Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.4/5.
One of Thoreau's most influential writings, it has been published separately many times (Walter Harding's The Variorum Civil Disobedience, for example, appeared in ), included in volumes of selections from Thoreau (among them the Modern Library Edition of Walden and Other Writings of Henry David Thoreau, edited by Brooks Atkinson), and translated into European and Asian languages.
"Civil Disobedience" has become a manifesto of non-violent protest, read and used by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Not all of Thoreau's books had as lasting an impact. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers was also published in Thoreau’s essay, now popularly known as “Civil Disobedience,” was originally titled “Resistance to Civil Government.” He delivered it as a lecture in and published it The impetus for the essay was Thoreau’s refusal to pay the poll tax and his subsequent stay in jail overnight.
When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it.
Civil Disobedience [Henry David Thoreau, Tony Darnell] on fresh-air-purifiers.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience is an essay by American author Henry David Thoreau and was first published in with the title of "Resistance to Civil Government".
Thoreau sets for an argument that permit governments to rule or degrade their consciences/5(K).Download