Civil Disobedience Thoreau Essay

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Imagine the idea of, “These United States”, instead of “The United States”. A country without controversy, is a country that doesn’t care. While a revolutionary is one that leads change, on the contrary, a rebel is one that elicits change. A rebel is intellectual, hard-headed, and critical of the current order of either government, society, or human nature. During the nineteenth century, Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher, writer, abolitionist, and most notably, had conflicting theory regarding the involvement of the government in daily life. Thoreau spent the latter years of his life living in the woods of Walden Pond, criticizing human nature; he believed in a more simplistic lifestyle. Thoreau’s unconventional perceptions of human nature …show more content…
Civil disobedience, in essence, is an individual’s refusal to comply with a law or regulation as a display of political protest. Thoreau clearly portrays his own application of civil disobedience in his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government”. In his essay, Thoreau states “No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America.” (Thoreau). Thoreau actively criticized the people in government, and particularly in the legislative branch. The United States has always been a democratic state, and thus by a majority vote, the “way of the land” was created in 1789; the Founding Fathers set the country’s future precedent. Thoreau’s respect for authority didn’t cease here, however. In July of 1846, he was arrested on a charge of refusing to pay his poll tax for the past six years (Harmon). Thoreau claimed that his actions were a protest to the Mexican-American war, however his actions were illegal and ultimately landed him in jail. Unlike many revolutionaries such as Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Thoreau’s decision to disobey the law in order to peacefully portray his beliefs, was no heroic or honorable. It was an act of rebellion, and ultimately he wasn’t leading a movement, but instead creating further controversy over the morality of the …show more content…
It is human nature to be selfish, thus the government was formed as a democracy not to benefit the common people, but rather to create a ground for debate between career politicians. Thoreau criticized the common way people lived and governed themselves often, which stirred up controversy. In society, the purpose of a rebel, like Thoreau, is to cause the desire for change, not necessarily to lead the change; that is the duty of a revolutionary. In the world today, Thoreau is still an important figure, because he represents the need to for people (especially our evolving generation of young adults) to have their own views on various issues, and to strongly back these ideas with critical thinking. He has changed the

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