Essay on Civil Disobedence

Submitted By meridithdance
Words: 2289
Pages: 10

As a young teenager, I was intrigued after watching a film on the experience the confident, transcendentalist, South-African man; Nelson Mandela. Within this eye-opening movie a line that resonated within me to this day was, “Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will.” Since I watched the innocent man patiently wait in captivity, I knew all he desired was his freedom. Mandela yearned for society as a whole to be treated as equals, causing all individuals to reach the opportunity of freedom. Through the movie, I was able to see that this idea, would lead to a successful and prosperous society. Not being conquered or ruled by unjust leaders is the meaning of the Latin word Invictus, or unconquerable. Justifiably so, the inspiring film is titled Invictus because of the actions Mandela did for his fellow people. It is eminent the similarities of such a prominent figure like Nelson Mandela to the linguist activist, Henry David Thoreau. Both men were more than willing to pursue action such as, suffering in jail, for the betterment of the people. Powerful actions such as these are the definition of the term civil disobedience, or refusal to obey government demands in a non-violent manner. Additionally, Henry David Thoreau, a social philosopher and also writer, advocated upon the pretense of transcendentalism. The thought of a personally experienced awakening for an individual insight, was an unfamiliar thought during the times of the mid-1800s (“Transcendentalism” 1). Such radical ideas were engendered into Thoreau by his dear companion and neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Henry David Thoreau” 1). These two independent and individualist thinkers shared there thoughts about the abrasive government and the injustices society was forced to encounter. When not tutoring Emerson's children, Thoreau enjoyed writing his philosophical and literary essays. An example of one of Henry David Thoreau's phenomenal works, which was first printed in 1849, was Civil Disobedience (“Henry David Thoreau” 2). During this time many innocent men were fighting hard by serving their government in the Mexican American War since April 25, 1845 (“Conditions Leading to the Mexican-American War”). Accordingly Civil Disobedience describes unjust governmental activities like Thoreau's taxpayer's rebellion, his imprisonment, and his rationale for resistance (“Henry David Thoreau” 2). Due to a vast amount of diction, details and language, rhetorical tools are enhanced to illuminate Thoreau's observations of the unjust activities the government implicates upon its subjects. To begin with, Thoreau opens his thought-provoking essay by confidently sharing his own views with the audience, while using a variety of rhetorical tools. He states that he “heartily” believes “That government is best which governs the least”. It is believed that Jefferson stated this exactly same quote just twelve years earlier, to express the philosophy in which Thoreau firmly believes ("That Government Is Best Which Governs Least” 1). Through his vast use of vocabulary, Thoreau sincerely proposes that he is determined to stand up for his, as well as society's, individual rights. He says that the government currently uses their power in an “abused” and corrupt manner, and he is determined to change this fact. Accordingly, a rather urgent tone is expressed, partially because Thoreau is conveying to the reader his opinions immediately. Language is utilized to enhance Thoreau's definite opinion by claiming, “The standing army is only an arm to the standing government”. This metaphor expresses the idea that an army is to the government as an arm is to the body. Both of these comparisons have a defensible, quickly-moving, and strong figure that will protect the sacred structure at any time needed. The sense of protection reinforces being urgent, and is also very candid. Some individuals within the audience may see the government as being over-protective now view them in a