What qualities does Thoreau envision in an ideal state?

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

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It is a bit difficult to extrapolate a political setting from a thinker who is so driven by the subjective. Perhaps, this might be where a starting point is evident in the ideal state.  Thoreau would be in favor of a state that was zealous in its defense of individual freedom.  For Thoreau, freedom and action of the individual to believe what exists in one's conscience is vitally important.  These are interests that must be advanced by the state and must not be vitiated.  Thoreau would favor a sense of individualism and expanded individual rights.  Thoreau would support this as it would be a political extrapolation of his own personal sense of individual identity.  Continuing on this, I think that Thoreau would advocate a localized type of town hall political state in which all individuals would be able to express themselves and not succumb to a political conformity in which they lost their sense of identity.  At the same time, I think that part of what makes Thoreau's state so ideal for him is that he is able to find a sense of personal expression within a political realm driven by the protection of rights.


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