civil disobedience and other essays pdf

Civil Disobedience And Other Essays Pdf

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[PDF] Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (the Collected Essays of Henry David Thoreau)

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Civil Disobedience

Thoreau's Civil Disobedience espouses the need to prioritize one's conscience over the dictates of laws. It criticizes American social institutions and policies, most prominently slavery and the Mexican-American War. Thoreau begins his essay by arguing that government rarely proves itself useful and that it derives its power from the majority because they are the strongest group, not because they hold the most legitimate viewpoint. He contends that people's first obligation is to do what they believe is right and not to follow the law dictated by the majority. When a government is unjust, people should refuse to follow the law and distance themselves from the government in general.

Available in PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook. This book has 21 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in In this essay, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican—American War. I run this site entirely on my own, and spend a lot of time and money doing so.

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

The first essay in the book, entitled "Civil Disobedience" is a call by Thoreau for people to take responsibility for the actions of the government their taxes support. He is writing specifically about the government of Massachusetts, which while outlawing slavery had recently allowed for the return of escaped slaves to their owners in the South. Men have a moral responsibility to withhold support of a government engaged in immoral actions, Thoreau claims. He writes the essay after he himself is jailed for a short time for refusing to pay a poll tax. In "Slavery in Massachusetts," Thoreau returns to his criticism of the Massachusetts government for supporting the return of fugitive slaves to their southern owners.

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