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Slavery and
unjust laws


David Thoreau in the
essay “Civil Disobedience” “addresses
you and me: ephemeral human beings who must make their best of their short time
to ask the right questions.”1 This
work is important because it  talks about
people and government.

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“David  has two representative writings : the “Civil Disobedience” first published in
1849 (under a somewhat less impressive title:”Resistance to Civil Government”) and Walden.2

One of the major idea
in this essay is the fact that the government refuses to make citizen’s life
easier  . “Civil disobedience” it is a “manifesto against the mental inertia
of his fellow-citizens”.3 Transcendentalism
is the period when David Thoreau created this essay. Not the reason was
important, but the individuals liberty.

Thoreau says that you
can compete with the illegal actions so that the honest justice can win. What
annoyed the writer was the immoral actions of The United States, more exactly
it talks about the War, the Mexican War. The war was not going to bring peace
and understanding was just intended to allow slavery, illegal actions,
immorality when  we discuss about
politics. The author went to jail at some point in his life and that affected a
little bit his perception about laws. “He thereafter preached the doctrine of
civil disobedience, i.e. the citizen’s moral duty of correcting a narrow-minded

Disobedience” shows that the new days are worst than
the days  when the revolution took place
in the citizen’s life. Thoreau wants to show us that obeying the laws by the
individuals means that the citizens become a partner  to those who do bad things to the city.         While the government tries to repair the
illegal problems people lives are lost. Thoreau explains what was the
consequence when you disobey the rules “I have paid no poll-tax for six years.
I was put into a jail once on this account, fore one night.”5
After that night, Thoreau was not the same because now he sees the world, his
own town with different eyes . He feels like it is a barrier between him and
the people in town. While he stayed in jail he had time to reflect upon mind
and body. The payment was used by the author as a metaphor in order to show us
the fact that not only in his previous writings, but also in those which came
after he kept  his instinct of
disobedience. “His demonstrative refusal to pay the poll tax had to be somehow
acknowledged by an actual sentence to prison. This act was performed by Thoreau
with the commitment of an actor on a stage.”6
People become in his opinion slaves of the law and injustice.

 Thoreau says that nothing can buy our freedom.
“When I came out of prison,-for some interfered, and paid that tax,-I did not
perceive that great changes had taken place on the common, such as he observed
who went in a youth, and emerged a tottering and gray-headed man; and yet a
change had to my eyes come over the scene,-the town, and State and
country,-greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more
distinctly the state in which I lived.”7

What Thoreau wants  when it comes to laws and government is
individual’s freedom of mind, of choice and of actions. He develops the idea of
individual’s conscience and the belief that any cries  could be solved by peaceful means. “what sort
of emolument can pay us for selling our freedom-which is basically our freedom
of mind? How much money should employers count on to buy a thinker’s
conscience? This will only take us back to the old dilemma of Dr. Faustus…”8

David Thoreau was
considered by many people an anarchist “his writings and his actual life-story
is one of the most vivid particularities of Thoreau’s works.”9

The author no longer
respects the laws created by the government. He does not believe anymore in the
Constitution not even in the State.”In most cases there is no free exercise
whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense.”10

Government in Thoreau’s
opinion is something imaginary an idea that people choose to live by. He
encourages civil disobedience because you develop a sense of moral and

1  Peiu, Anca,
 Romantic Readings of Selfhood in Classic
American Literature, Bucuresti, Editura C.H.Beck,  2017, pp.88.


3 Ibid, pp.88.

4 Peiu, Anca,  Romantic Readings of Selfhood in Classic
American Literature, Bucuresti, Editura C.H.Beck,  2017, 

5  Thoreau, H. David,  On The
Duty Of Civil Disobedience,  Elegant
E-books, 1849, PDF e-book created by Jose Menendez., (, pp.18.

6  Peiu ,Anca,
 Romantic Readings of Selfhood in Classic
American Literature, Bucuresti,  C.H.Beck, 
2017, pp.92.

7  Thoreau, H. David,  On The
Duty Of Civil Disobedience,  Elegant
E-books, 1849, PDF e-book created by Jose Menendez., (, pp.21.

8   Peiu, Anca,  Romantic Readings of Selfhood in
Classic American Literature, Bucuresti, C.H.Beck,  2017, pp.93.

9 Ibid, pp.89.

10 Thoreau, H. David,  On The
Duty Of Civil Disobedience, editura Elegant Ebooks, 1849, PDF ebook
created by Jose Menendez., (, p.5-6.

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