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American Poems: Books: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
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 Home » Books » On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

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  • Sales Rank:861,224
  • Format:Kindle eBook
  • Language:English (Published)
  • Media:Kindle Edition
  • Pages:22
  • Publication Date:August 20, 2013
  • ASIN:B00I2O4UBG

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Synopsis

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849) is an essay by the American transcendentalist writer and poet Henry David Thoreau in which he insists that rebelling against a government is a duty whenever such a government starts taking decisions against the will of the people. Thoreau justifies his radical stance by the fact that elected governments are not always legitimate or fair decision-makers. For him, this is mainly exemplified in the way his contemporary government of the United States, being elected and legitimate, legalizes and encourages slave-trade and levies taxes to finance the illegitimate war with Mexico. If democracy means the rule of the majority, the latter is not necessarily always right or wiser than the minority. A government, for Thoreau, is corrupt by nature and must be revolted against as soon as signs of this corruption become visible. Besides, the essay does not just put the blame only on the government and its supporters, but more importantly on those who are convinced of its corruption and remain aloof. The people, according to Thoreau, should not just remain passive waiting for the next elections because to hope for justice and real reformation through voting is completely ineffective. Justice must be imposed and not just voted for. If people live under an obviously unjust law, they must fight to change it and not simply wait for election to do so.


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