Civil Disobedience Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience book cover
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According to Thoreau, how can the government sometimes hinder the people?

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Thoreau wastes no time getting to his feelings about government in Civil Disobedience:

I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs least.'"

Thoreau writes that the scope of the government can be misused much in the way of the standing army:

The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.

Thoreau believes it is too easy for a few corrupt individuals to decide the course of the nation without the input of the people.

It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will.

It’s not that he believes there should be no government but that there must be "a better government.” He believes that conscience should prevail over law.

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?

He goes on to say that men march...

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