Sunday, September 18, 2011

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau's main point for civil disobedience is to have little government as possible. He says "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. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government." With this statement he makes clear that he believes that government shouldn't be involved with people's everyday life. He also states that government moves at a very slow pace. Which i think he is trying to say here that if i as a person in this new government have a problem with someone or something. It would take a long time to get anything done about it.

Later he states "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way" I think he put this in here along with example of what the early american has done without the government to continue to rally support for his no government point of view.

"Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys,(5) and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart." I believe that Thoreau thinks that these young men that serve in our military are doing it against there will, that the government is making laws that force this young men to serve. While yes i'm sure there are men that were serving that didn't want to be there, there were the equal number of men that wanted to protect their country from its enemies.

I'm in favor of something that Thoreau is proposing with this paper, i believe that the government is be involved with some aspects of life here in the USA. They shouldn't be involved to much this is were i agree with him. With the part about a law being made to force young men to serve in the military, i know when i turned 18 i had to fill out my draft card. If there ever was a time that my government needed me to serve to protect my country and family, and my friends i would do it in a heart beat.


  1. You have some really good quotes in here. I enjoyed your interpretation of them. As I read I got the feeling that Thoreau wanted Americans to start thinking for themselves. He seemed to say that any government that would willingly go to war with neighboring countries simply to promote slavery or supported slavery at all for that matter was a government that no longer looked out for the good of all people.

  2. If an individual sees a war as unjust, as Thoreau saw the Mexican-American War, and that individual is in the military, he or she is still compelled to fight that war. Is it against a soldier's "common sense and consciences" to kill a person in a war that he or she sees as unjust? Is the soldier defending his or her country? If a person views a war as unjust, who is the enemy?