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Thoreau on Civil Disobedience

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 725839
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02/05/2011 06:34 PM
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Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
O, the ecstasy of critical thought, of words so pure and true..They strike the mind with the force of an earthquake and the precision of a laser..or was that the force of a laser and precision of an earthquake..?..Hmmm..Anyway, listen to this example of a well formed thought...It will sound almost alien to most...




Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/05/2011 06:40 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
[link to en.wikipedia.org]

"In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation. Abolitionists, in Thoreau's opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxes, even if this means courting imprisonment.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.… where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,– the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.… Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible."
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/05/2011 06:41 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Because the government will retaliate, Thoreau says he prefers living simply because he therefore has less to lose. "I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts…. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case."
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/05/2011 06:48 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Mohandas Gandhi was impressed by Thoreau's arguments. In 1907, about one year into his first satyagraha campaign in South Africa, he wrote a translated synopsis of Thoreau's argument for Indian Opinion, credited Thoreau's essay with being "the chief cause of the abolition of slavery in America", and wrote that "Both his example and writings are at present exactly applicable to the Indians in the Transvaal."[17] He later concluded:

Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself. He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced. At the time of the abolition of slavery movement, he wrote his famous essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience". He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/05/2011 06:49 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also influenced by this essay. In his autobiography, he wrote:

During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau's essay On Civil Disobedience for the first time. Here, in this courageous New Englander's refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery's territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/05/2011 07:00 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Yes, indeed. The capacity for critical thinking in this modern world is rare.
Forever the Student
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02/05/2011 07:18 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Thoreau is the Man !

Thanks OP


hf
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/05/2011 07:35 PM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Thoreau is the Man !

Thanks OP


hf
 Quoting: Forever the Student 1013311

Then why aren't more inclined to action?

All it takes is 4%.
Anonymous Coward
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04/24/2012 11:15 AM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
bump
awww shucky-ducky!!!

User ID: 5704054
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04/24/2012 11:28 AM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
Henry IS the man, but he wrote these doctrines back in the mid 1800s...ie: back when people had a lot more freedoms.

It doesnt take much, I will admit, for us to deny the recognition of tptb, but the simple fact that, for most people at least, they have such a controlling aspect over every facet of life, it becomes ever so much more difficult for the people to rise up and take the power back.

Basically what Im saying is, either we beat the system by playing by their rules, currently what Ron Paul is doing, or we rise up in armed revolt.
Ancient Chinese secrete: Man who stands on toilet is high on pot.
Anonymous Coward
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04/24/2012 11:38 AM
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Re: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience
wish I was around back then to meet him





GLP