Thoreau Essay From Walden Pond Essay Research
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Thoreau Essay (From Walden Pond) Essay, Research Paper Answer Thoreau’s question: “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” Thoreau reminds us that the law has been created by the majority and to disobey would put him in the minority-a “wise minority.” Why should the wise minority have the right to disobey laws created by the majority? As we approach the end of the millennium, we must all ask ourselves, what lies in the future? Some people believe that the year 2000 will mark the beginning of world chaos. Others take the optimistic viewpoint, and believe that the world will know peace in the next century. In both of these beliefs, the government (or lack there of) plays an important role. The government plays a role in all of our lives. Most people would like to believe that it doesn’t, but still we pay our taxes and cast our votes. But what if people played a more active role in their government? What if we were all recognized as individual people, all worthy of equal representation? This issue has been addressed by many. However, there is one person who stands out. He addressed this issue so eloquently and thoroughly that it still intrigues people today. Henry David Thoreau uses his essay, “Civil Disobedience,” to express his opinions of the government, the governed and those who resist the government’s power. His essay seems directed to those who are already in favor of his viewpoints. Thoreau does not believe that the government is set up to impose laws and rules of society upon people, but rather, the government should help the individual to sustain his or her own beliefs. Thoreau argues that an individual’s conscience dictates what is right and wrong therefore, a government under majority rule cannot always succeed in being just. Thoreau uses slavery and the Mexican War as examples of how the majority will rule according to what will best benefit themselves. He goes on to explain his night in prison and all the things he learned and experienced that night. Thoreau uses that night as an example of why others should follow in his footsteps and resist the government. He does believe that people must use their moral conscience to guide them and do good for themselves and others. Thoreau ends his essay by explaining the purpose and importance of the individual. He believes that the government gets all its power from the individual therefore, the individual should be held in the highest regard. Thoreau involves his readers through his essay. He asks important questions that force the reader to stop and think for himself or herself. For example, Thoreau asks the question “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” Thoreau also speaks of the wise minority and their right to disobey the majority’s laws. This concept is important in recognizing the importance of the individual. Both of the questions are important to Thoreau, and to his essay. “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” That is a very important and very personal question. I cannot answer that question for everyone, but only for myself. It is my opinion that people should attempt to change the laws, and obey them until the change has occurred. The government is far reaching, and change will not come easily. Even Thoreau knew that change would take time. ” I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government” (128). Thoreau knows that the process of change is long, he acknowledges that. However, he does not acknowledge the government power over people, especially when the laws are unjust.