At the end of the essay, what qualities does Thoreau envision in an ideal “perfect and glorious State”?

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For Thoreau, the ideal government is the government that governs least. His ideal is of a limited government with limited functions, leaving the individual with as much freedom as humanly possible. The government has no right over the individual's life and property beyond that which is granted by his express...

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For Thoreau, the ideal government is the government that governs least. His ideal is of a limited government with limited functions, leaving the individual with as much freedom as humanly possible. The government has no right over the individual's life and property beyond that which is granted by his express consent. The consent of the governed is a crucial principle for Thoreau. If it is not adhered to, then governments have an alarming tendency to act in a dictatorial manner, riding roughshod over the citizen's inalienable rights.

In the final paragraph of "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau presents a potted version of what's called the Whiggish interpretation of history. According to this theory, systems of government, over time, gradually progress, manifesting a higher degree of freedom at each stage of their development. In this reading, American democracy represents a distinct improvement over the absolute and limited monarchies of Europe. Nevertheless, Thoreau still holds out the prospect of further improvement. Government is a work in progress and can always be improved. But this can only happen if the power of the State is subordinated to the higher, independent power of the individual. Then, and only then, will it be possible to establish the kind of ideal state that Thoreau envisages, "a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen."

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