Thoreau Essay On Civil Disobedience Summary

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Many social reformers, including Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi and American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., have cited "Civil Disobedience" as inspiration.

Henry David Thoreau's original title for this essay was "Resistance to Civil Government." The essay was first delivered as a lecture before it was published.

the collective This is the key to Thoreau’s political philosophy.

The individual is the final judge of right and wrong.

Gandhis and Kings vision was inclusive and nonjudgmental, rather than declarations, such as a recent one by an army officer in uniform that our God is greater than Allah. From the Baltic States, across to the Ukraine, and east to the Philippines, ordinary people in dozens of countries have proved Thoreau correct: When all subjects have refused allegiance, and all officers have resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Although many Quaker writers had argued from conscience for civil disobedience against war and slavery, Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” essay is not tied to a particular religion or to a specific issue.We can now begin to discern several principles of civil disobedience.The first principle is that you maintain respect for the rule of law even while disobeying the specific law that you perceive as unjust.But open rebellion does become justified in two cases: first, when the friction comes to have its own machine, that is, when the injustice is no longer occasional but a major characteristic; and, second, when the machine demands that people cooperate with injustice.Thoreau declared that, if the government Conscience vs.In Thoreau's case, his conscience led him to oppose American slavery and the Mexican–American War.He specifically discusses the pitfalls of American democracy and offers guidelines for effective resistance to injustice, adaptable to any place and time.After his death, the essay was reprinted as "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" and later shortened to "Civil Disobedience," a phrase, never used in the essay itself, which means "the act of declining to follow certain laws or government demands as an act of protest." In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau responds to a text by English clergyman William Paley, called "The Duty of Submission to Civil Government," which appears in This study guide and infographic for Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text.Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. Civil disobedience, or the refusal to follow certain laws or government demands as a peaceful form of protest and a way of achieving a social goal, is a tactic used by individuals and reform movements around the world. Footnote Course Hero, "Civil Disobedience Study Guide," August 31, 2017, accessed September 7, 2019, https://


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