This could be one of the harder papers I have read in a while. Having a hard time understanding it all.
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Thoreau opens his essay with the motto "That government is best which governs least." His distrust of government stems from the tendency of the latter to be "perverted and abused" before the people can actually express their will through it. A case in point is the Mexican war (1846-1848, which extended slavery into new US territories), orchestrated by a small élite of individuals who have manipulated government to their advantage against popular will. Government inherently lends itself to oppressive and corrupt uses since it enables a few men to impose their moral will on the majority and to profit economically from their own position of authority. Thoreau views government as a fundamental hindrance to the creative enterprise of the people it purports to represent. He cites as a prime example the regulation of trade and commerce, and its negative effect on the forces of the free market.