Essay on Civil Disobedience

Submitted By madisonjadeg
Words: 575
Pages: 3

Jade Green
October 17, 2013
Civil Disobedience Laws are made to ultimately better the people, yet some laws are not always made to better all the people. This fact is not stated to be overlooked but to be altered. The Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal”, but the word “all” somehow excluded African Americans, women, and others; words mean nothing when the actions do not follow them. Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” challenges individuals to stop shying away from speaking out against unjust laws of the government and helps those on the outside of “all men” realize that it is never too late to be heard. One of the main points Thoreau focuses on is peoples’ tendency to go against their morals because of the laws in place. Thoreau fixates on how people often simply follow the government with a haze over their eyes, not thinking of what the laws mean for them, he says, “we should be men first”. He is trying to show people it is better to be a person who is run by his morals and not letting their morals change due to the government. Mark Twain time and again wrote on how he thought it odd that many men have two sets of morals, a political set and a personal set. Why can there not plainly be one set of morals? He also concentrates on how, if men stopped conforming to unjust laws, the “machine” or government would stop running. Laws make it seem as if they are the only option, nevertheless, that is false. He implores individuals to understand that if a law turns one unjust, if it so displeases them “break the law.” Let one’s true morals run one’s life, not the morals the government wants one to be run by. Thoreau also stresses the importance of not respecting laws only because they are laws, but respecting the law primarily because supports something that is right. Thoreau believes in one’s individuality when he said, “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.” A sunflower always faces the east, as a man always knows where his true respect lies. So if you force a sunflower to the west it dies and