Considering this essay, what government policies would Thoreau most likely object to?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Given where Thoreau is in his essay, his greatest objection would be to governmental policy where issues of conscience are directly addressed.  For example, I think that Thoreau would stand firmly against the Republican- driven calls for conflict with Iran.  For Thoreau, I think he would see this as an example of governmental policy going against the conscientious experience of the individual, where contingent governmental actions went against the universality of conscience.  Going back in history, Thoreau would probably object to provisions in the Patriot Act that sought to increase governmental and executive control over the freedom and actions of the individual.  It would be interesting to see where Thoreau would go with the recent controversy surrounding contraceptive services provided in the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by the President.  Though he might not agree with the objections, he would certainly understand the need to stand up for perceived actions of conscience on the part of Catholic organizations and religious universities.  For Thoreau, the definite demarcation of government going against individual belief systems is where his basic element of demanding that the latter be released from the former would be where his emphasis would lie.


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