Essay On Civil Disobedience

Submitted By Clayton-Wintermantel
Words: 1682
Pages: 7

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Clayton Wintermantel
Mrs. Butell­Huntoon
Composition ll
5 March 2015 In his essay “Civil Disobedience,” it is clear to see how Henry Thoreau expresses his disapproval for the United States government. His multiple rhetorical appeals such as logos, pathos and ethos invoke the reader to side by focusing his ideas around our democratic government. The three main ideas that Thoreau relates to are the idea as government as an expedient, the government will not enterprise us any further and lastly he asks for support and proposals and implies the idea of revolution. The intended purpose of our government has come to an end, or as Thoreau refers to it as an “expedient.” Thoreau feels that an ideal government is one that serves a purpose, but to people's dismay, most governments fail to abide by this credence. Thoreau mirrors the actions of the government, particularly its involvement in the Mexican war to evoke the idea of the government being an “abused” and “perverted” institution which only serves the will of a few. Thoreau embeds the idea through his allusion to Thomas Jefferson“That government is best when it governs the least.” It is also implied by thoreau that men will learn to conform to an absent government but only when they are ready, as seen through his use of ethos that
“when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”
Thoreau also goes on to explain that the government can abuse its power in many ways and one way which it has been done is through the military, which is “a standing arm of the standing government.” This metaphoric analogy examines the will of government and explains

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that the government will act based on the consent of a few and it can be done through armed forces. The statement also analyzes Thoreau's disapproval for how decisions are made, that the once majority will is now an obsolete tactic. Throughout the essay as Thoreau progresses his argument to identify the real power of the government and how it is perceived by its citizens. “It has not the validity and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend to his will.” Thoreau's use of parallelism demonstrates that the government can intrude and change the will of man, but it is man that can repeat the actions of the government and determine his own will. This quote as well as the following “It is sort of a wooden gon to the people themselves,” creates a state of irony which Thoreau uses to build upon his ethos and identify the mere fate of citizens. In the second quote Thoreau use of metaphoric language conveys the naive perception of peoples view on government. The government gives people the mere illusion of power while actually leaving them powerless. To better explain the situation, as it was mentioned that the government has a tendency to be “perverted,” the actuality is that the government is corrupt and citizens feel that they have great power to change the government through their will and majority rule, but before one can even attempt to expect change, the government has already gone against their will and is working to benefit itself. The solution to the problem of government as Thoreau sees it is not to leave their problems unattended and hope for change but he implies that it is the civic duty of people to correct their unjust legislature and this is seen in the following “It is excellent, we must not allow; yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise.” The convincing statement which appeals to one's ethos refers to the idea of keeping government out of ones life and

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asking what can the people do that the government cannot do. Thoreau dignifies his statement through the use of anaphora, in which he constructs short sentences with the