On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

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On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Published:

1849

Pages:

26

Downloads:

22,417

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On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

By

5
(2 Reviews)
An argument that people should not permit governments to overrule their consciences, and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. (Original title: Resistance to Civil Government)

Book Excerpt

of the slaves, or to march to Mexico--see if I would go"; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it. The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly

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