Be a hard master to yourself - and be lenient to everybody else. This is simply the constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be.
Resistance also served as part of Thoreau's metaphor comparing the government to a machine: On Civil Disobedience is another common title. The word civil has several definitions. The one that is intended in this case is "relating to citizens and their interrelations with one another or with the state", and so civil disobedience means "disobedience to the state".
Sometimes people assume that civil in this case means "observing accepted social forms; polite" which would make civil disobedience something like polite, orderly disobedience. Although this is an acceptable dictionary definition of the word civil, it is not what is intended here.
This misinterpretation is one reason the essay is sometimes considered to be an argument for pacifism or for exclusively nonviolent resistance. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi used this interpretation to suggest an equivalence between Thoreau's civil disobedience and his own satyagraha.
The environment became especially tense after the Fugitive Slave Act of A lifelong abolitionistThoreau delivered an impassioned speech which would later become Civil Disobedience injust months after leaving Walden Pond.
The speech dealt with slavery, but at the same time excoriated American imperialismparticularly the Mexican—American War.
Democracy is no cure for this, as majorities simply by virtue of being majorities do not also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice.
The judgment of an individual's conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so "[i]t is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.
The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.
Because of this, it is "not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize". Such a fundamental immorality justifies any difficulty or expense to bring it to an end.
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. Thoreau's Slavery in Massachusetts which also advances this argument. He exhorts people not to just wait passively for an opportunity to vote for justice, because voting for justice is as ineffective as wishing for justice; what you need to do is to actually be just.
This is not to say that you have an obligation to devote your life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.
Paying taxes is one way in which otherwise well-meaning people collaborate in injustice. People who proclaim that the war in Mexico is wrong and that it is wrong to enforce slavery contradict themselves if they fund both things by paying taxes.
Thoreau points out that the same people who applaud soldiers for refusing to fight an unjust war are not themselves willing to refuse to fund the government that started the war. In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed.
But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation.How Curiosity and Thoreau Taught This Movie Star a Huge Lesson About Success IMAGE: Walton Goggins, star of The Hateful Eight and Justified, gets candid about how curiosity led him down the path.
Inspirational Quotations presents a collection of peace quotes emphasizing living in the now. An e-zine, free frameable quotes, and a contest are also offered. Henry David Thoreau was born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, into the "modest New England family" of John Thoreau, a pencil maker, and Cynthia Dunbar.
His paternal grandfather had been born on the UK crown dependency island of Jersey. His maternal grandfather, Asa Dunbar, led Harvard's student "Butter Rebellion", the first recorded student protest in the American colonies.
The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature by William Cronon. Print-formatted version: PDF In William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W.
W. Norton & Co., , The time has come to rethink wilderness. Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.
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