Which quotation from “Civil Disobedience” would be the most effective in supporting this student’s argument?
A student is writing an analysis of Thoreau’s claims in “Civil Disobedience.” The student understands Thoreau’s main claim to be that the government interferes in the rights and responsibility of humanity to govern themselves, even as it claims to be listening to the voices of all citizens. The student argues that Thoreau sees the government as an obstacle to action, a place where grievances are discussed but not actually resolved. If humanity was really governing themselves effectively, they would take action against grievances directly and not simply wish things would change.
Retrieved from: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/71
“Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”
“This American government,—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will.”
“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less desponding spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles.”
“But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.”
Already signed up? Sign in
Let's continue studying where you left off.