Civil Disobedience Rhetorical Analysis

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Henry David Thoreau, born July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, was known to be an American transcendentalist and philosopher. Thoreau became known for the essay he wrote when he spent a night in jail due to his refusal to pay taxes in objection to slavery and the Mexican War. The essay was published and titled “Resistance of Civil Government” but also known as “Civil Disobedience.” It is unsurprising that the government is dirty and corrupt so the purpose of the essay was to influence readers to not fear but protest government laws and commands or vote them out.
Thoreau’s opinion of the government is "That government is best which governs least" (Thoreau 964). Thoreau wanted the government to protect the people, to do for the people, but
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Wood insist the essay was a narrative and dramatic essay which caused critics to think his work was out of proportion and uninteresting. Wood thinks his focus and accomplish was too dramatic and narrative form, yet his work lacked the message to his essay on being a truly self-reliant man. Wood and other critics expected to read and get the message with more supporting details on civil disobedience rather than his experience and thoughts. Thoreau offered encouragement to the individual’s rights, to withdraw any support from a government whose policies are evil. He was such a moral thinker, did not fear possible consequences of civil disobedience against injustice. The message was to be self-reliant and follow your heart, withhold taxes to deprive the State of its resources and maybe in the future the people will see a change and the government will lose the ability to continue such immoral …show more content…
Thoreau’s night in jail was considered free rather than confined. He describes his night in prison novel like and interesting. The prisoners enjoyed chats and evening air as he entered the jail. He was placed in one of the neatest cells that was apartment like and furnished. “One night in jail was not much in the way of such an action; in fact, it lacked the second condition of such an act altogether, viz., the appeal to the people from themselves” (Cavell 399). The result to Thoreau’s night in jail was due to he did not want to pay the tax because he believed it was to support the Mexican War. To Cavell it seems having spent a night in jail was not enough to support his argument, but to Thoreau it meant a lot, in fact he believed a place for a true just man was to be imprisoned rather than be part of a corrupt State, as both would serve to the same

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