Transcendentalism: Civil Disobedience
“All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government…” (53). In Thoreau’s essay, Civil Disobedience, he talks about how the government destroys/corrupts the individuality of a person and how it focuses on major figures instead of the “people” of America and their beliefs through language and metaphor.
Thoreau’s overall meaning is how the government takes away the individuality of a person. The government tries to get an entire body of people to follow one rule, the rule only major political figures like Washington and Franklin create. The people were only allowed to follow the governments look at things, not really follow the beliefs of the religion. Was their religion, yes, but the government was more important. This is what caused Thoreau to question, why? For a Transcendentalist like Thoreau he did not like the idea of following the idea of one man, to not have a choice in his beliefs. The government was taking away the chance for people to have their own beliefs, to be an individual. In the end though it was the man who had the choice of whether he wanted to obey the government or rebel and have his own beliefs. The man who chose to “rebel” will live more freely and have his own thoughts, “If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him” (66). Which leads to the Transcendentalist theme of individuality. To be one’s own person, and have your own thoughts. To not follow the crowd and believe in your own beliefs. Throughout the essay, Thoreau speaks his mind about how the government is taking over the thoughts of others when, those who “created” the government did not truly make it. It is all but the following of the rules they followed in the past brought into the present, there is...