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In paragraph 20, Thoreau states that "any man more right than his neighbors constitutes...

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omarhashani94 | Honors

Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:18 AM via web

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In paragraph 20, Thoreau states that "any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already."

What does he mean by this? How does this support his thesis?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:46 AM (Answer #1)

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In this statement by Thoreau, he is saying that the one person who is on the right side of the question counts for more than all the people who are on the wrong side of the question or issue.  If you are correct in your belief, your belief would be more important and be a majority of one over whatever number of people are against you or on the other side of the issue.  Thoreau believed that personal beliefs rightly held were more important than any government rule, and thus he promoted civil disobedience against any rule which he considered wrong.  As a writer, Thoreau was a powerful voice for following an individual's own conscience and beliefs no matter what the government wanted the public to believe.

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