Henry David Thoreau was an American writer, philosopher, and naturalist who .
believed in the importance of individualism. He thought people should live their lives for .
themselves, and never conform to the ideals of others and society. Thoreau demonstrated his philosophies and beliefs throughout his life, in his actions and writings, as shown here, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." (Thoreau, Walden.) .
Thoreau's belief in the importance of individualism is evident several times during his life. One time he shows this is in 1845, when he moves into a small hut on Walden Pond, and lives there until 1847. After which Thoreau writes one of his most famous works, Walden, telling about his philosophies and experiences while living at Walden Pond. Another time Thoreau's nonconformist beliefs are revealed is when, in protest to the Mexican-American War and slavery (government in general), he refused to pay his poll taxes and he is locked up for night. From this experience comes the essay Civil Disobedience, in which he tells of the corruption/flaws of the politic system and government, "Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right." (Thoreau, Civil Disobedience.) The quote refers to the fact that laws are made in basis of the majority's vote, and the individual should ignore the law if what he thinks goes against it. All through his life Thoreau exercises his beliefs in his actions and his writings.
Thoreau's main point in life was to stress the importance of individualism, and not to conform to the ideals of others.