This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Political Principles Of Thoreau Essay

918 words - 4 pages

The Political Principles of Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was, in many ways, ahead of his time in his political beliefs. During his brief life, he lectured occasionally and struggled to get his writings published. Gaining very little recognition during his lifetime, his death in 1862 went virtually unnoticed, and his true genius as a social philosopher and writer was not fully recognized until the twentieth century. Ironically, "Civil Disobedience," the anti-war, anti-slavery essay for which he is probably best known, has become a manual for social protest by giving support to the passive resistance of Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other conscientious objectors (Paul 233).

Thoreau’s "Civil Disobedience" was mainly a protest against slavery: "I cannot for an instant recognize the political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also" (854). On a deeper level, the essay was a general protest against any form of political injustice and an affirmation of the obligation of passive resistance, encouraging individuals to disobey any laws they felt were unjust.

In 1846 while living at Walden, Thoreau demonstrated the doctrine of passive resistance when he was arrested for not paying poll taxes because of his opposition to Texas entering the Union as a slave state and his opposition to the Mexican War. He was robbed of the chance to test the tax when he was released from jail the next day after a relative paid what was owed. Desiring to make the public aware of the abolitionist cause, Thoreau composed an essay that considered the rights and duties of the individual in relation to government. He noted that man is not bound to a government that legislates injustice. This essay was originally published in 1849 as "Resistance to Civil Government" and posthumously in 1866 as "Civil Disobedience" (852).

"Civil Disobedience," begins with the well-known motto - "That government is best which governs least" (852). This carried to its natural conclusion is no government at all, which he says will happen when people are prepared. Thoreau realizes that the immediate need is not for no government but for better government. "Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it" (853). Thoreau asks whether it is not better to decide right and wrong by conscience which everyone has. "It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right" (853).

...

Find Another Essay On The Political Principles of Thoreau

The Principles of Justice Essay

1546 words - 6 pages distribution of the benefits and burdens of the society. According to Rawls, justice is best understood by a grasp of the principles of justice (Rawls, 1971). The principles are expected to represent the moral basis of political government. These principles indicate that humankind needs liberty and freedom so long as they do harm others. Rawls states that justice is significant to human development and prosperity. According to Rawls, the

This essay is about the political framework of Islam. It talks about the basic principles and happenings in Islam's government

572 words - 2 pages The Political Framework of IslamThe political system of Islam is based on the three principles of towhid (Oneness of Allah), risala (Prophethood) and Khilifa (Caliphate). This right rests only with Allah. This principle of the Oneness of Allah makes meaningless the concept of the legal and political sovereignty of human beings. No individual, family, class or race can set themselves above Allah. Allah alone is the Ruler and His commandments

The Essential Principles of Freedom

1275 words - 6 pages Freedom – it is one of the most essential, ever-present, and controversial themes in both literature, and throughout the world. Every day we exercise our freedoms without giving a thought as to how lucky we are to have the freedoms that we do. So what is freedom really? Equality, rights, democracy . . . these are all ideas that come to mind. But what are the essential principles of true freedom? True freedom is constituted by safety, the

The Ten Principles of Conservatism

2307 words - 9 pages Conservatives believe communities can provide structure for the natural change that they believe should be the real way of progress and that communities are capable of providing a counter force against the concentrated power within the government (Dunn, iii). Thus, community must be near the top in a list of fundamental conservative tenets, and community is the third in this list of ten principles of conservatism (Dunn, iii). Conservatives

The Ethical Principles of Islam

2279 words - 9 pages The Ethical Principles of Islam Most religions have similar ethical principles and beliefs on the value and nature of human life; however this essay will be focusing on one religion in particular, Islam. Islam’s main principles about the human life are quite similar to the other religions, and the fact that life is sacred. This underpins all issues dealing with medical ethics such as Abortion and Euthanasia

The Principles of Te Whaariki

1469 words - 6 pages has shown that the curriculum is made up of three parts: The overt curriculum which is the curriculum that is planned by the teachers, the hidden curriculum is made up of the children’s experiences which are unplanned and undocumented by the teachers, and the null curriculum includes any programme content that is systematically excluded from the children’s experience. Te Whāriki has four principles that relate to the five strands. The first is

The Principles of Police Leadership

2922 words - 12 pages enforcement responsibilities. Operational principles are used to structure the organization. Operational principles regulate authority, delegate responsibilities, and maintain accountability (Cordner & Scarborough, 2010). Operational principles include the chain of command, unity of command, span of control, authority and responsibility. A general order from the Beaverton Oregon Police Department states: Supervision can generally be

THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING

2712 words - 11 pages THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF TEACHINGASSIGNMENT 1ContentsTask 1 3Learning 3Forgetting 3Motivation 4Attention 5Feedback 5Overlearning 6Reinforcement 6Stimulus-Response Bonds 7Teacher/Learner Relationship 7Concepts 8'Discovery' Learning 8Avoidance Learning 9Perception 9Rote Learning 9Task 2 11De-motivators 11To Improve Motivation 11Summary 12Task 1LearningDictionary Definition:learn·ing (lûr n ng)n.The act, process, or experience of

The Principles of Interpersonal Communication

4904 words - 20 pages The Principles of Interpersonal Communication 1, We cannot not communicate, Communication is a natural occurrence between all beings. As we communicate naturally, we concentrate on verbal speech to talk. Our bodies on the other hand give out signals as part of our communication. When we communicate, body language is expressed with intentional and unintentional signs. Some examples are; • The shrugging and slumping of shoulders

The Individualism of Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless

934 words - 4 pages Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” In this quote, Eleanor is expressing that you should always take advantage of the universal human right to be an individual. From time immemorial, many of those who have led meaningful and enjoyable lives have shared one particular trait in common: individualism. Chris McCandless and Thoreau were no different

Transcendentalism in the works of Thoreau, Hawthorne and Emerson

603 words - 2 pages that of the senses. To transcendentalists, "human beings were truly divine because they were part of nature, itself the essence of divinity." Life's focus was finding oneself through nature. Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau together significantly objected to many of society's restrictions on the individual and through their writing all hoped to influence change.Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of

Similar Essays

The Political Thinking And Influence Of Henry David Thoreau

2166 words - 9 pages The Political Thinking and Influence of Henry David Thoreau The extent and nature of Henry David Thoreau’s commitment to social reform has long been a matter of debate among scholars. Drawing on his well-know disdain for organized politics and his focus of self-reform, some have observed that "Thoreau was no social reformer" (Goodwin 157). On the other hand, such major anti-slavery statements as "Civil Disobedience," "Slavery in

The Theology Of Thoreau Essay

609 words - 2 pages The Theology of ThoreauHenry David Thoreau's proposal of self-discovery is the simplest yet most realistic of any scholar in history. While living at Walden Pond and composition his American classic, he revealed the roots of livelihood to all men. Thoreau scripted the proper way towards living life. He implies that a man must discover and understand himself before he can truly live. The swiftest way towards this realization is to get in touch

P Lato Vs Aristotle Principles Of Political Power

768 words - 3 pages political aspect all men are created equal, and have equal rights. Jefferson states, "All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, explaining political equality of men and certain fundamental rights" (76). Jefferson believes the government is suppose to be sure these rights are upheld, but the citizen is the ruling party. In addition Jefferson says, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their

The Essence Of Transcendentalism: Henry David Thoreau

627 words - 3 pages Transcendentalism may look like a complex concept, but its true meaning is quite a simple idea; the essence of Transcendentalism is non-conformity and individuality. Living simply and being one with nature, as well as being an individual and not conforming to society, are the main principles of the movement. Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, was an avid follower of this movement. He abode to the "rules" of Transcendentalism, such as leading