On Duty of Civil Disobedience

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Henry David Thoreau sets the tone throughout the document "On Duty of Civil Disobedience" by maintaining a very serious tone. Thoreau states his opinions regarding how the United States government should be run. He also points out how unjust occurrences and regulations stifle the minds of the US citizens. Thoreau's utopian government is one, which enforces very few parameters. "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'" "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 " (On Duty of Civil Disobedience.) Thoreau makes it clear that all men should oppose every unjust law or guideline, which contradicts the conscience within each citizen who is under the government's control. "The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right" (On Duty of Civil Disobedience.) The repetition used in the document exemplifies how much compassion Thoreau has pertaining to every citizen's independence from an imposing government. Thoreau states that one-day people should be able live in a society where they can govern themselves through self-control without any structured regime.

A government without the compassion that a single individual would possess is a government, which implies regulations without the moral justifications necessary. Thoreau states in the text that this exact lack of scrupulous intentions would affect the decision-making and state of mind of any individual citizen. "If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law." "It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to...
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