On Thoreau And Governmental Reform

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On Thoreau and Governmental Reform Henry David Thoreau’s argument, “Civil Disobedience,” published 1849, gives strength to the transcendental belief that one should not harbor oneself within the confines of a municipal society, but rather, live for what is believed to be virtuous on one’s own accord. Thoreau states that the public should not permit civil authority to overrule or degenerate their consciences; he argues people have a duty to avoid compliance by the majority and to avoid governmental control. Thoreau covers issues concerning government, society, liberty, and personal freedom. He uses these issues to break down the government, relating the topics to municipal reorganization and the idea “that government is best which governs least” (1). The ideas on reform presented in “Civil Disobedience,” though, are often more abstract than what the average person- an average person being one of good conscience and sense, not too radical- would be willing to act upon. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” effectively argues the aforesaid ideals on governmental reform, but provides an unrealistic model of governmental amendment for the average person to follow. Thoreau begins his argument by stating that he believes “That government is best which governs least” and that he would like to see this “acted upon more rapidly and systematically” (1). He uses this idea as the basis for the remaining segments of his argument, going further to say he believes "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” (1) Thoreau uses this motto in order to convey the point that people should not require an overriding body, but rather, should be able to subsist with little or no assistance. Thoreau believes that government will be unnecessary when all citizens are fully responsible, but in the
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