Essay on Henry David Thoreau 's Civil Disobedience

1377 Words Sep 14th, 2014 6 Pages
Henry David Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience in 1849 to inform other Americans about the government. The Mexican-American War and slavery were two very big controversies that happened during the time Thoreau wrote this because he believed the government was bringing injustice to its people. His main point in Civil Disobedience was to relay the message to others about not doing everything the government tells its people to do. Thoreau does not just tell his fellow citizens to do this - he takes his own advice by not paying certain taxes that are forced upon him by the government. Thoreau wants his audience to follow their own values and morals instead of doing what they are told to do. He wants everyone to understand that the government is controlling them and that they can do something to limit its power. Thoreau hated the idea of slavery and the taxes that were forced upon him only encouraged this. He decided to pick and choose which taxes he was going to pay, chose to not pay the poll tax, and ended up getting arrested and put in jail for one night (McElroy). Thoreau uses ethos to get his audience to trust him, gain his credibility, and to actually take what he is saying to them seriously. He uses the tactic of showing off his own experience by telling his audience about the night in jail. In order to build the trust of his audience, Thoreau tells his audience “I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into jail…” (Thoreau). This will give him…

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