Essay on Justice in Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

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Justice Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

By definition justice means the quality of being just or fair. The issue then stands, is justice fair for everyone? Justice is the administration of law, the act of determining rights and assigning rewards or punishments, "justice deferred is justice denied.” The terms of Justice is brought up in Henry David Thoreau’s writing, “Civil Disobedience.”
Justice has different standards for every group that it is presented upon. Thoreau’s opinions and criticism is strongly stated. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was described as many things. Thoreau was an author and naturalist with very Republican views. Morals inspired him. He ties in morality with justice many times in his piece. He was as
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Thoreau is taking a stand, his own moral compass compels him. Acting on your own conscience is a strong theme throughout Thoreau’s essay. He shows disdain for the common masses, who are apathetic, or if not, at least uninvolved in these conditions and events that Thoreau feels so passionately that he must oppose. He states incredulously, “There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them, who esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing…they will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy to evil, that they may no longer have it to regret.” To complicate Thoreau’s passion to follow his conscience is the fact that his moral stance is in direct conflict with his government, his system of justice and the laws put in place that Thoreau, as a citizen, is required to follow. In Thoreau’s conscience he can’t support a government that supports slavery, whose laws actually protect the institution of slavery and whose monies fund the war with Mexico. Thoreau goes on to say, “it is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any even the most enormous wrong: but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it

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