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Civil Disobedience by Thoreau

             In Thoreau's essay, "Civil Disobedience", he exhorts the need to prioritize social consciousness over the unquestioning allegiance to government policy. In essence, "Civil Disobedience" could arguably be touted as the quintessential rallying cry for the pioneers of a new social conscious movement. .
             Thoreau's essay argues that a government proves itself of little value if it obtains its power to govern from the majority of the masses solely on the basis that they are the strongest group. He contends that a citizen's first obligation is to cling to his or her own belief of what is right and not blindly follow the law dictated by the majority. In addition, Thoreau also believes that when a government is unjust, people should detachment themselves from its control and make it their civic-minded duty to avoid membership in any such unjust institution. Thoreau further laments that United States clearly fits his criteria for an unjust government, given its support of slavery and its practice of military aggression.
             Thoreau continues his essay by revealing his skepticism on whether governmental reform by itself has any chance of making a difference and argues that voting and petitioning for change rarely achieves the desired goal of its participants. According to Thoreau, protest in the form of separation as opposed to reformation is preferred as the only means of securing social and political change.
             Thoreau's position is summarized in a single rebellious act: in protest of slavery, Thoreau refuses to pay taxes and spends a night in jail. His fond account of his incarceration, as chronicled in "Civil Disobedience", idealizes his argument for severing ties with government and further exemplifies the civic responsibility of those oppressed by it laws to reframe from participation in it's institutions. .
             A critical look at Thoreau's, Civil Disobedience initially reveals the authors effective mixture of poetry and social commentary.

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