Henry Thoreau Civil Disobedience Essay
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.As he said of his incarceration for his refusal to pay a tax: "I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I saw that the state was half-witted, that it was as timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons. For those interested in the deep connection drawn by rights theorists between personal choice and responsibility, which motivated the early rights theorists, the Abolitionists, and the individualist feminists of the nineteenth century, this book offers a careful examination of the philosophical issues involved. In addition to containing a moving essay on Henry David Thoreau, this book is full of wisdom about how a free man might live in a world only partially free.
Thoreau sought to live as a wholly free person in a world that was not wholly free.
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.
Obligations to pay taxes to the state or to submit to its authority normally fall into the second category of particular obligations.
Thoreau insists that he did not consent to them, and that he therefore is not bound by them and instead follows the demands of his own conscience (notably his opposition to the enforcement of slavery and to the war with Mexico).