Examples Of Civil Disobedience In The Grapes Of Wrath And Thoreau

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Governments are created by the people to protect their rights. When a government is corrupted and fails to do its job, the people rally against it because it has strayed from its purpose. Many different people have different viewpoints on their government. An excerpt of “Civil Disobedience” shows Henry David Thoreau’s ideal government, and how his current government went against the ideals he believed in. In Chapter Seventeen of “The Grapes of Wrath”, John Steinbeck explains how the camps of the migrant families create a union and a government, even for one night. The two governments illustrated in these works have some of the same fundamentals, but differ in how they operate and function in society. Essentially, the governing bodies between …show more content…
Thoreau states that “the government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it,” (Thoreau 1). Thoreau’s government during his time could be easily be corrupted, but because the government in “The Grapes of Wrath” does not have large leaders and is run by the people, it is not so easily corrupted and its power not as easily abused. Thoreau’s government is considerably bigger, since it is on a national scale, and has many more opportunities for people to use it in their favor; whereas a close-knit group in the camps would not be as easy to misuse. Additionally, Thoreau believes that “governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage,” (Thoreau 1). Unlike “Civil Disobedience”, the government in “The Grapes of Wrath” is run by the people, for the people, every decision made is in the best intention of everyone else. There is no system there that can be taken advantage of because the migrant people would not allow anyone to do that within their community - these desperate people can’t afford to have their order corrupted. Lastly, Steinbeck includes that in the camps “a man who was wise found that his wisdom was needed in every camp;...and a man with food fed a hungry man, and thus insured himself against hunger,” (195). The privileged do not use their privilege to their advantage, like someone in Thoreau’s government would; they do not use their upper-hand to get ahead. Instead, they use it to help everyone else in the group get ahead, because they rely on each other. Thoreau’s government is too far corrupted that it can abuse its power; it doesn’t ‘need’ the people, it uses them to their advantage. These governments operate very dissimilarly, even though they’re intrinsically

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