Analysis of Resistance to Civil Governemtn

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Analysis of “Resistance to Civil Government” Henry David Thoreau was a great literary writer in the 1800’s. He thought himself to be a great role model, while others thought he never lived up to his potential. Thoreau attended Harvard University where he graduated 4 years later in 1837. After his graduation, he spent years teaching and writing at various locations. With encouragement from his a fellow Concordian, Emerson, he kept a journal that was used as a source book for some of his writings. Thoreau’s life changed after he spent one night in jail after refusing to pay his poll tax for protesting against what he thought as the proslavery agenda of the war against Mexico. This experience led to “Resistance to Civil Government,” a world famous essay on the relationship of the individual to the state. Thoreau’s reputation resulted as “one of the most outspoken abolitionist in the Concord area” (Thoreau 827) In “Resistance to Civil Government,” Thoreau discusses his beliefs and views on government control over the American people. Thoreau believes in a government that puts the needs of the people ahead of the needs of the unjust few. His belief can be misinterpreted as a cry to abolish the government but he makes it clear by stating, “But to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government” (Thoreau 830). This sentence is the most important statement made by Thoreau because it is the starting point of what he wants in an American Government. He does not ask for a perfect government but a fair and free government. He goes on to say that some injustice was far too great to overlook, such as slavery. Thoreau continues by criticizing the American people. “There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put
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