Henry David Thoreau 's Views On Civil Disobedience Essay

818 Words Apr 12th, 2016 4 Pages
Henry David Thoreau would have been a fine choice for graduation speaker at Loyola University Chicago. While Thoreau held somewhat-conflicting views on civil disobedience, his life philosophy would have certainly spoken to the young Millennials graduating this spring. Thoreau would have spoken about freedom, individuality, and the importance of doing the right thing.
Thoreau would have been a perfect fit for a commencement speech, as they were the target audience of his book. He stated, “Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students” (4). He wrote it to get them to realize that there were other ways for them to live their lives than what they had always seen in society.
Thoreau, as an individualist, deeply valued freedom. While he found his freedom in the woods, working a few odd weeks a year for just enough money to live off of, he certainly would not have suggested that to the graduating class. Instead, he would have told them to find their passion, and seek that. He would have urged them to live their lives in whatever manner was necessary so that they felt the same sense of freedom within themselves that he found at Walden. This was illustrated by his statement, “I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living on any account…but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way…” (58). It is likely that would have been the central component to his speech.
As much as he valued freedom, Thoreau also believed one ought to do…

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