Henry David Thoreau's Resistance To Civil Government

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Despite the United States of America’s right to vote, a handful disagree that this freedom is properly applied. Henry David Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government”, states, that the American government does provide avenues for change for dissenters, but these are often too slow and unreliable. Voting, for instance, is not as effective as Americans like to think. Thoreau affirms, “The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency…. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men” (p. 968, Thoreau). To Thoreau, voting is a sort of scheme based on chance and is does nothing for the moral right rather the majority rule. This quote explains a voter whose side is defeated, submits readily to the majority. Therefore, the majority vote may determine justice that is unacceptable to the transcendentalist belief in pure moral goodness. Thoreau believes that legislation or…show more content…
He continues to believe that one person can make a difference and those actions will change principle. However, if an individual leads and no one follows, then one must at least refuse to condone the evil and must withhold one’s vote or expedience. Thoreau claims, "If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting on another man's shoulders" (p. 969, Thoreau). By all means, noncompliance was Thoreau's preferred approach to most social injustice. All together, if one did not follow a leader’s actions for justice and passively accepted the majority vote, that individual should remove themselves from the undemonstrative submissive
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