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Hover for more information. Thoreau believes that the best kind of government is one that governs not at all. Governments, like all human institutions, are, of their very nature, corrupt.
According to Thoreau, Americans will get the best kind of government when they speak out and tell the government what type of government you want.
Thoreau argues that a better government is one in which “majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience” (part 1, par. 4). Thoreau distinguishes the contrast between right and wrong as determined by the majority, and right and wrong as determined by each individual’s conscience.
Thoreau argued that the government must end its unjust actions to earn the right to collect taxes from its citizens. As long as the government commits unjust actions, he continued, conscientious individuals must choose whether to pay their taxes or to refuse to pay them and defy the government.
Thoreau says that government does not, in fact, achieve that with which we credit it: it does not keep the country free, settle the West, or educate.
Thoreau begins Civil Disobedience by saying that he agrees with the motto, “That government is best which governs least.” Indeed, he says, men will someday be able to have a government that does not govern at all.
In “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau is angry at the government because he believes it is complicit in immoral activities.
How did his imprisonment affect his feelings about the government? He refused to pay his poll tax. In jail he lost respect for the state. People would live by their own rules without regard for the law, and no one person or group would have control.
The quote in bold is “I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.” The quote that follows is “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.”
Regarding current political issues, Paine and Thoreau’s position would be divergent and could be contradictory to each other depending on the interpretation. Paine, shows in his work, how the USA should be a sovereign nation, even if it implies conflicts and crises.
Thoreau writes that a person does not have a duty actually to eliminate wrongs– even the most serious wrongs. A person may legitimately have other goals and pursuits. However, at the very least, a person must “wash his hands” of injustice and not be associated with something that is wrong.
For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Thoreau believed that individuals could be free only if their actions were true to their own beliefs, with or without the support or approval of the community, or of friends and family.
According to Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience,” a good citizen is one who serves the state with his conscience, doing what he believes to be right for the public good. Soldiers serve the state with their bodies, and legislators serve the state with their minds, but these people usually do only part of their duty.
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. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it.
What does Thoreau mean when he says he refuses to sit on another man’s shoulders? He refuses to support inequality. He refuses to benefit from injustice directed toward others.
All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now.
There are three types of men according to Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience”: those who serve with their bodies, those who serve with their heads, and those who serve with their consciences.
Answer: Both of them believed that people should search for the truths in nature. Both emerson and thoreau believed in living a simple life.
He saw Emerson’s “personal influence upon young persons greater than any man’s. In his world every man would be a poet—Love would reign—Beauty would take place—Man and nature would harmonize” (qtd in Sattelmeyer 191-2). Thoreau felt betrayed, Emerson alienated and disappointed.
Thoreau alludes to Greek mythology, Roman history, the Bible, the literature of the English Renaissance, and American history. In all cases, his allusions are cast into arguments for his vision of limited governance and individual freedom.
He wrote it for the mass of Americans who, he believed, ”lead lives of quiet desperation,” sleeping through life, and missing the most important things going on around them. His intent, he declared in the epigraph, was to crow like a rooster in the morning ”to wake my neighbors up.
(A) Why does Thoreau go to live in the woods? Thoreau goes to live in the woods because he wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and learn what they had to teach and to discover if he had really lived.
By Henry David Thoreau Thoreau’s writing style is dense with metaphor, and filled with sentences that pile on observation after observation, and reflection upon reflection, until, before you know it, you’ve gotten to the end of the paragraph without crossing nary a period.
If the narrator sometimes seems smug and self-righteous, it must be recalled that he is crowing “to wake his neighbors up” to their own greatness, not just his own.
Summary: Brute Neighbors Thoreau plays with the mice that share his house, describing one that takes a bit of cheese from Thoreau’s fingers. He also has regular encounters with a phoebe, a robin, and a partridge and her brood; he calls these wild birds his hens and chickens.
What Thoreau says is that we should cut back. We should not have so many possessions, we should not try to live in such fancy ways. If we would just cut back, we could pay more attention to the things in life that are truly important.
Thoreau says “every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” He speaks of the morning as being a benefactor of prospects, of hope, and renewal.
Thoreau wanted to tell us that there is magic to be found when we realize this. Each morning symbolizes your life, renewed and beginning again. Each morning is an entire opportunity to be born again and live an entirely new day in a new life, a new lens, almost as if an entirely new body.