Essay On Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" is an essay that attempts to persuade readers to oppose unjust government policies in general and the Mexican War and the institution of slavery in particular.Thoreau first presented the essay as a lecture on January 26, 1848, at the Concord (Massachusetts) Lyceum.81-87); William Ellery Channing, “A Human Being Cannot Be Justly Owned” (pp.

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, which was to exercise a great influence on subsequent generations of thinkers.

This module explores political obligation generally, including the questions whether one should submit to unjust demands from political authorities and whether a citizen should acquiesce when the state makes him or her “the agent of injustice to another.” Thoreau draws on a long libertarian tradition that holds that, although our universal, or general, obligations are not the result of choice or action (for example, the obligation not to take the life, liberty, or justly held possessions of any other person), particular obligations, that is, specific obligations to specific persons, are based on some act of the obligee, for example, assenting to a contract that requires the payment of a sum of money for a service rendered.

David Boaz, in his chapter “The Obsolete State,” speculates that the growth of the market and the spread of new technologies may allow individuals greater opportunity in the future to “bypass the state.”Readings to Accompany The Audio From : William Lloyd Garrison, “Man Cannot Hold Property in Man” (pp.

77-80); Frederick Douglas, “You Are a Man, and So Am I” (pp.

This word means grasping for truth" or attachment to truth." In effect, this philosophy asked its followers to endure suffering, instead of causing it, to achieve its aims.

After World War I, Gandhi returned to his native India to lead a movement against British rule of that country, enlisting millions of supporters in a nonviolent movement that resulted in Indian independence.) In the essay, Thoreau says it is the duty of all citizens to disobey unjust government policies. government policies: the continuation of the institution of slavery and the prosecution of the Mexican War (April 1846-February 1848).They should express their opposition through acts of civil disobedience, such as refusing to pay taxes. Citizens of good conscience should actively oppose unjust government policies through nonviolent resistance, such as refusal to pay taxes.He used the word transcendental to refer to intuitive or innate knowledge Among them was Mohandas K.(Mahatma) Gandhi (1869-1948), the great Indian leader.that is, they believed that this inner knowledge was a higher, transcendent form of knowledge than that which came through the senses.Because Thoreau and his fellow transcendentalists trusted their own inner light as a moral guiding force, they were possessed of a fierce spirit of self-reliance.Obligations to pay taxes to the state or to submit to its authority normally fall into the second category of particular obligations.Thoreau insists that he did not consent to them, and that he therefore is not bound by them and instead follows the demands of his own conscience (notably his opposition to the enforcement of slavery and to the war with Mexico).This campaign earned him the title of Father of India" and a lasting place in history as one of the 20th Centurys greatest leaders. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his successful nonviolent campaign in the 1960's to achieve civil rights for black Americans.In his autobiography, King wrote, No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea [passive resistance to injustice] across than Henry David Thoreau.


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