Thoreau's Mark on Civil Revolutionaries Essay

1619 WordsMay 15, 20137 Pages
Thoreau's mark on Civil Revolutionaries Henry David Thoreau, an American transcendentalist of the late 19th century, had very strong ideas about a government's function. He believe government to be unjust naturally and the only duty a man has is to right the wrongs that the man has done to others. All other wrongs are not his to right, although he may right them (McElroy par. 56). The ideas of Thoreau were quite innovative, especially for the time when he lived. His ideas of civil disobedience stemmed for one major source, slavery. He reasoned that, “Because he detested slavery and because tax revenues contributed to the support of it, Thoreau decided to become a tax rebel”(McElroy par. 3). Thoreau was then arrested for not paying his taxes. While staying overnight at the jail, his relatives paid the fine for him, allowing for him to be released (McElroy par. 4). His experience in jail spurned Thoreau into developing his beliefs on civil disobedience. Thoreau’s feelings about being arrested were so strong that he decided to write Civil Disobedience in response. He delved into the key elements of the relationship between the government and its citizens. The political ideas in Civil Disobedience influenced Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela through the principles of nonviolent revolution, effective disobedience to civil government, and the moral duty of the citizens of a state.Mohandas Gandhi, an Indian nationalist, fought for the independence of India from Great Britain. Gandhi read Civil Disobedience and integrated the concepts of opposing unjust laws with the intent of peaceful reform into his protests. Through his reading of philosophies from around the world, Gandhi came up with the principle of Satyagraha. Satyagraha is an idea that states that to resit evil, you must act in non-violent way.(Luebering par. 4). Gandhi’s accomplishment of

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