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Civil Disobedience

  • Date Submitted: 03/16/2010 03:15 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 47.4 
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Henry David Thoreau wrote his famous essay "Civil Disobedience" over 100 years ago, but his concepts and ideas still hold true today. Thoreau was a man of principle that believed that the people have a moral obligation to not only follow just and fair laws but also refuse to follow unjust laws which are sometimes put forth by the government. He showed his commitment to his beliefs by refusing to pay a poll tax, which he was later arrested for, since he didn't believe it was fair. The ideals put forth in Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" still hold true even today, with numerous examples of protests that are put on almost everyday in order to revoke or change certain laws that people feel to be unfair.
In the essay, Thoreau states “the government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.   Witness the Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure”. He is talking about the Mexican War which was going on at the time, but his concept and idea remains the same for recent events as well. Right now the same can be said for politicians and big business industries who use their power to do things for their own benefit, which the public would not always agree to, however, their power allows them to do so and get away with it.
Also Thoreau states in his essays that "“A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.”   This can be compared to the division of political parties in today's government, where people are technically given the right to their own opinion but then are forced to choose between two radical sides with two opposite views, some of which they may not even fully agree with. Even with this democratic system,...


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