1849 essay civil disobedience

They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn- a wholly new and rare experience to me. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the Chinamen and Malays are; that in their sacrifices to humanity they ran no risks, not even to their property; that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by walking in a particular straight though useless path from time to time, to save their souls.

It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate, but more free and honorable, ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her- the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.

I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be as free as I was. But he felt we could and should insist on better. As governments go, he felt, the U.

There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. I was not born to be forced. They force me to become like themselves.

He had stopped paying his poll tax in to protest the war and the expansion of slavery. In Julythe sheriff arrested and jailed Thoreau for his tax delinquency.

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849)

He recommends discerning, thoughtful action. Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation?

I never had seen its institutions before. 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.

Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. But in this case the State has provided no way: I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they may come to?

But we love better to talk about it: It is for no particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose.Thoreau - Civil Disobedience ().pdf - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free.

Thoreau and “Civil Disobedience”

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience () November 17, Lawrence Christopher Skufca, J.D. Leave a comment Thoreau’s classic essay popularly known as “Civil Disobedience” was first published as “Resistance to Civil Government” in Aesthetic Papers (). Neither, of course, did Henry David Thoreau, author of the essay “Civil Disobedience,” a document that every student of Political Philosophy knows as an ur-text of modern democratic protest movements.

This is an essay we have become all-too familiar with by reputation rather than by reading. In Julythe sheriff arrested and jailed Thoreau for his tax delinquency. Someone, probably a relative, anonymously paid Thoreau’s taxes after he had spent one night in jail.

This incident prompted Thoreau to write his famous essay, “Civil Disobedience” (originally published in as “Resistance to Civil Government”).

In addition to Civil Disobedience (), Thoreau is best known for his book Walden (), which documents his experiences living alone on Walden Pond in Massachusetts from Throughout his life, Thoreau emphasized the importance of individuality and self-reliance.

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 .

1849 essay civil disobedience
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