Civil Disobedience

Comments on "Civil Disobedience"

At the beginning of “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau expresses agreement with the idea “that government is best which governs least”. When carried to its logical conclusion, this concept leads to the realization “that government is best which governs not at all”. Thoreau believes government is the mode people have chosen to affect their will and is apt to be exploited before the people can act through it. Whatever the government assumes or promises, Thoreau argues, it does not keep a country free and it does not educate. He claims that all good that has been accomplished in America has been done not by the government, but by the people. He also argues that further accomplishments may have been reached if the government had not interfered.

Thoreau states that as a reasonable citizen, he does not ask for no government at all, but an improved government. The first step in improving a government is for the people to identify what kind of government would earn their respect and loyalty. The problem is that not every individual has a say in how the government should perform, and many do not have the respect or even acknowledgement from the government. The majority can rule simply because it is more physically powerful, and the minority...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1314 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9858 literature essays, 2494 sample college application essays, 464 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in