Henry Thoreau Civil Disobedience Essay

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, which was to exercise a great influence on subsequent generations of thinkers.

This module explores political obligation generally, including the questions whether one should submit to unjust demands from political authorities and whether a citizen should acquiesce when the state makes him or her "the agent of injustice to another." Thoreau draws on a long libertarian tradition that holds that, although our universal, or general, obligations are not the result of choice or action (for example, the obligation not to take the life, liberty, or justly held possessions of any other person), particular obligations, that is, specific obligations to specific persons, are based on some act of the obligee, for example, assenting to a contract that requires the payment of a sum of money for a service rendered.

In effect, Thoreau insists on a right to withdraw from the state, a right also articulated by Herbert Spencer in his essay "The Right to Ignore the State" in the readings for this module.

Thoreau sought to live as a wholly free person in a world that was not wholly free.

If the government adopted a policy or a law that offended their consciences, they generally reacted strongly.

Civil Disobedience" expresses Thoreaus reaction and measured response to government dictums that legitimized slavery and the Mexican War.One may liken this inborn knowledge to conscience or intuition.that is, they believed that this inner knowledge was a higher, transcendent form of knowledge than that which came through the senses.The book is written in an accessible style and does not require any extensive philosphical background. Perry focuses on the more radical abolitionists, many of whom rejected slavery on the same grounds that they rejected absolute government.Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" is an essay that attempts to persuade readers to oppose unjust government policies in general and the Mexican War and the institution of slavery in particular.Readings to Accompany The Audio From : William Lloyd Garrison, "Man Cannot Hold Property in Man" (pp.77-80); Frederick Douglas, "You Are a Man, and So Am I" (pp.Transcendentalism, as Thoreaus moral philosophy was called, did not originate with him or his fellow transcendentalists in New England but with the German philosopher Emanuel Kant.He used the word transcendental to refer to intuitive or innate knowledge Among them was Mohandas K.In that sense, he was the most American of us all.") The readings by Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and William Ellery Channing argue that slavery violates the fundamental equal right of all individuals to be free.The readings from Immanuel Kant and from Bruno Leoni argue that the internal logic of law requires that law be equally applicable to all, a requirement that chattel slavery notoriously fails, and one that many lesser infringements on liberty may fail as well.

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