In cases where the two are at odds with one another, the individual must follow his conscience and, if necessary, disregard human law.
Such laws often have more severe penalties than those that protect individuals against violence. What, then, is the proper relationship between the individual and the government. Only action — what you do about your objection — matters.
Sometimes people assume that civil in this case means "observing accepted social forms; polite" which would make civil disobedience something like polite, orderly disobedience.
As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken.
During the early 19th century, New England was the center of an intellectual movement called Transcendentalism. It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the grating of a jail window, "How do ye do.
There are really no blows to be given by him but defensive ones. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote.
Denying an interest in abolishing government, he states that he simply wants a better government. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. He exclaimed in Civil Disobedience, Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator.
Although this is an acceptable dictionary definition of the word civil, it is not what is intended here. They are specific reactions to what he sees as extreme events.
Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. And, should a child stumble, spilling berries, he would kneel by the weeping child and explain that if children did not stumble, then berries would never scatter and grow into new bushes.
Americans know Thoreau primarily as the author of the book Walden, or Life in the Woods but it is Civil Disobedience that established his reputation in the wider political world. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax-bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the Church.
Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. I am but too ready to conform to them.
This misinterpretation is one reason the essay is sometimes considered to be an argument for pacifism or for exclusively nonviolent resistance. Instead, it might produce injustice only.
This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, nor the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating.
It is not worth the while to snivel about it. To drive this point home, Civil Disobedience dwells on how the Founding Fathers rebelled against an unjust government, which raises the question of when rebellion is justified. He says of the government at the beginning of the Civil Disobedience, "It has not the vitality and force of a single living man.
This is the conclusion at which Civil Disobedience arrives. Human law and government are subordinate. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. According to Thoreau, a person cannot accept the government's authority unquestioningly. The majority may be powerful but it is not necessarily right.
It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. Thoreau, himself, will not provide much in way of counter- arguments to his points in Civil Disobedience. Instead, I think that you might have to consider the.
Thoreau begins Civil Disobedience by saying that he agrees with the motto, "That government is best which governs least." Indeed, he says, men will someday be able to have a government that does not govern at all.
Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" clashes with his defense of John Brown.
In one he advocates non-violent resistance; in the other he defends the actions of violence. This is where critics find the clash of logic, and many simply ignore his politics, because they are considered inconsistent.
When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it.
his chapter on the “Duty of Submission to Civil Government,” resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say, “that so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.
Civil Disobedience study guide contains a biography of Henry David Thoreau, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Study Guides.An analysis of of thoreaus perspectives in his duty of civil disobedience