Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, Politics, Philosophy
Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and Coffee With Cream

I look around me and all I can say is that Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” (1849) still applies today.

I read it a couple of times since last night, and I must say that this essay prompts me to stand up and fight for what’s right. (“What’s right” might be debatable though). I just feel like starting a revolution right now…

But since I have no plans of writing a review or a response on this, and since this work is already in the public domain, I think sharing it is a good idea.

Download the pdf version of the essay for free: Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau (1849)

Or, if you’re too lazy to read it, here are some quotes from Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”:

I heartily accept the motto, – “That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, – “That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now.

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. 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.

Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.