English 11P/ Period: 6
23 October 2013 Misused Government The essay, Civil Disobedience, was written by Henry David Thoreau during The Mexican War in the 1840’s, a war caused by a dispute over the boundary between Texas and Mexico, as well as by Mexico’s refusal to discuss selling California and New Mexico to the U.S. Thoreau was against the Mexican War, he felt it was unnecessary violence, so he refused to pay taxes and he had to spend the night in jail. While in jail Thoreau wrote that the federal government was flawed because it was likely to be misused and get in the way of the citizens progress, and because of this the US would become a weaker nation and it would eventually fall apart.
Thoreau believes that the government can be misused. Thoreau argues that the government has not the vitality of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will” (Thoreau 412) If one individual can manipulate the government for his own purposes, this is an abuse of the governments power which is supposed to represent all citizens. If the government’s power can be issued by one individual this would make us dangerously close to a dictatorship where one person controls all decisions. This would contradict the democratic principles of our beliefs. Furthermore, Thoreau also asks readers to “witness the Present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the government as their tool” (Thoreau) 412. The people running the government are using the government’s power for all the wrong reasons. Since the government isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, the citizens won’t both causing corruption and controversy. Thoreau believes that the government gets in the way of people’s progress. Thoreau states, “It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the west. It does not educate. The characteristics inherent in the American people had done all that has been accomplished.” (Thoreau 412). Thoreau believes that the government hasn’t helped with the growth of America, but simply takes credit for it. If the government isn’t contributing to accomplish great