Civil Disobedience Essay

Submitted By Karmazabtch
Words: 545
Pages: 3

“Civil Disobedience” Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Civil Disobedience,” begins by saying, “I heartily accept the motto,-’That government is best which governs least,’” he believed realistically that this is how government should be (177). He goes on to say what he really believes is, “That government is best which governs none at all” (Thoreau 177). Thoreau does not agree with many of the governments laws and believes that in order to follow many of the laws it would mean not having a conscience and giving up morality. Thoreau was opposed to the Mexican war and slavery and went to jail because of his refusal to pay taxes, this was his way of taking a non violent stand against the war that he felt was unjust. Thoreau explained that if people feel a law is unjust and immoral its their duty to rebel against it and take the consequences. He believes that if you are not against the government than you are supporting it. Thoreau explains that the government is dictated by the majority and this is how the government gets it’s power and strength, but because the majority takes the vote does not make the majority moral or just. So rather than taking action to make a change in the government Thoreau says, “Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that if they should resist the remedy would be worse than the evil” (184). He says that action other than simply voting is needed. Thoreau says to simply vote for what you want is achieving nothing, voting leaves it up to chance and has no impact. Thoreau says, “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority” (182). Thoreau did not agree with slavery and said, “I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also” (180). Although the majority accepted slavery Thoreau knew the immorality of it and would