In the essay, thoreau wrote, “that government is best which governs least.” Explain what this quote means
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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 (which would extend 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 will on the majority and to profit economically from their own position of authority.