⒈ Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience

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Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience

It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. Fascinated by the Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience unpublished Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursionsand petitioning publishers to print revised editions of How Co2 Changed Marine Life Week and Walden. Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience left Walden Pond on September 6, June 13, Archived from the original on July 7, Phone: Fax: nationalhumanitiescenter. Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience should not obtrude my affairs Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which some would call Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience, though they do not appear to me at all impertinent, but, considering the circumstances, very natural and pertinent.


His refusal to pay his poll tax to protest slavery and the Mexican War was an act of resistance that landed him in jail for a night. He bases his analysis on two fundamental assertions. First, he maintains that the individual is the source of all moral authority. According to Thoreau, what is the basis of majority rule? He contends that majority rule is not based on justice or fairness but rather on nothing more than the fact that the majority is physically stronger than the minority. According to Thoreau, how do governments decide questions of right and wrong?

They do so on the basis of majority rule, on mere numbers, on the simple fact that one side of a question gets more votes than the other. Why does Thoreau object to governing through legislators? It means letting someone else decide our views on what is right and what is wrong. We each have a conscience. We should not delegate its use to another person. In his view what sort of questions can legitimately be decided by majority rule? The decisions of government are expressed as laws.

According to Thoreau, how should individuals relate to the law and why? Men and women should value the right more than the law because the law, decided by mere numbers and not moral principles, may not embody the right. But in leaving all issues — the expedient and ethical — up to the majority, when justice is at stake, it cannot be just because the majority will inevitably violate the conscience of someone. Here he uses it in the plural. I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. How is voting like betting? They are both passive. In both we relinquish our ability to influence outcomes through action. In both hope takes the place of action.

When we bet, we put our money down and hope that our team wins. When we vote, we put our money down and hope that our candidate wins. The events in these nations generally began in the spring of , which led to the name. However, the political and social impact of these popular uprisings remains significant today, years after many of them ended. The Arab Spring was a loosely related group of protests that ultimately resulted in regime changes in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Not all of the movements, however, could be deemed successful—at least if the end goal was increased democracy and cultural freedom. In fact, for many countries enveloped by the revolts of the Arab Spring, the period since has been hallmarked by increased instability and oppression.

The Arab Spring began in December when Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the arbitrary seizing of his vegetable stand by police over failure to obtain a permit. He had ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 20 years. The participants in these grassroots movements sought increased social freedoms and greater participation in the political process.

However, in some cases, these protests morphed into full-scale civil wars, as evidenced in countries such as Libya, Syria and Yemen. While the uprising in Tunisia led to some improvements in the country from a human-rights perspective, not all of the nations that witnessed such social and political upheaval in the spring of changed for the better. Most notably, in Egypt, where early changes arising from the Arab Spring gave many hope after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak , authoritarian rule has apparently returned.

Following the controversial election of Mohamed Morsi in , a coup led by defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi installed the latter as president in , and he remains in power today. In Libya, meanwhile, authoritarian dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown in October , during a violent civil war, and he was tortured literally dragged through the streets and executed by opposition fighters. Video footage of his death was seen by millions online. This has contributed, in part, to the ongoing worldwide refugee crisis, which has seen thousands flee Libya, most often by boat across the Mediterranean Sea, with hopes of new opportunities in Europe.

Similarly, the civil war in Syria that began in the aftermath of the Arab Spring lasted for several years, forcing many to leave the country to seek refuge in Turkey, Greece and throughout Western Europe. Yet, although ISIS has largely been defeated in Syria, the oppressive regime of long-time dictator Bashar al Assad remains in power in the country. In addition, the ongoing civil war in Yemen can also be traced to the Arab Spring. And in Bahrain, peaceful pro-democracy protests in the capital Manama in and were violently suppressed by the government of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Officially, the country has a constitutional monarchy form of government, but personal freedoms remain limited.

The plight of the Bahraini people was dramatically portrayed in the documentary Shouting in the Dark , which was released in December 17, Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire outside a local government office in an act of protest after being arrested by police for not having a permit to run a vegetable stall. Street protests begin soon after his death throughout the country. In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed.

But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation. Abolitionists , in Thoreau's opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxes , even if this means courting imprisonment, or even violence.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. 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. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.

This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now. Because the government will retaliate, Thoreau says he prefers living simply because he therefore has less to lose. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey.

I should feel as if I were worth less in that case. He was briefly imprisoned for refusing to pay the poll tax , but even in jail felt freer than the people outside. He considered it an interesting experience and came out of it with a new perspective on his relationship to the government and its citizens. He was released the next day when "someone interfered, and paid that tax".

Thoreau said he was willing to pay the highway tax, which went to pay for something of benefit to his neighbors, but that he was opposed to taxes that went to support the government itself—even if he could not tell if his particular contribution would eventually be spent on an unjust project or a beneficial one. Because government is man-made, not an element of nature or an act of God , Thoreau hoped that its makers could be reasoned with.

As governments go, he felt, the U. But he felt we could and should insist on better. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.

An aphorism often erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson , [16] "That government is best which governs least Thoreau was apparently paraphrasing the motto of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review : "The best government is that which governs least" [17] which might also be inspired from the 17th verse of the Tao Te Ching by Laozi : " The best rulers are scarcely known by their subjects. I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least;" and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all;" and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi a. Mahatma Gandhi was impressed by Thoreau's arguments. In , about one year into his first satyagraha campaign in South Africa , he wrote a translated synopsis of Thoreau's argument for Indian Opinion , credited Thoreau's essay with being "the chief cause of the abolition of slavery in America", and wrote that "Both his example and writings are at present exactly applicable to the Indians in the Transvaal.

Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself. He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced. At the time of the abolition of slavery movement, he wrote his famous essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering.

Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable. American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In his autobiography, he wrote:. Here, in this courageous New Englander's refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery's territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

From its Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience roots to its Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience political instability and the Syrian Civil War, the country has Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience complex and, at times, tumultuous history. Cramer, ed. When we vote, we Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience our money down Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience hope that our candidate wins. I should Running With Scissors Summary as if I Star Wars Effect worth less in that case. I see this blood flowing Democracy In Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote.

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