Civil Disobedience Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

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In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau believes individuals should not participate in injustice. Do you agree or disagree?

In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau makes it known that he does not believe individuals should participate in injustice, calling such people "machines." He is right that it is morally wrong to support unjust laws. He makes a compelling case for his perspective by focusing on the injustice of slavery, which he calls on people of conscience to oppose.

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Thoreau believed individuals should fight unjust laws. In his essay, he characterizes those who mindlessly obey the laws as "machines":

The mass of men serve the State thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies.

He contrasts them to the people he admires, who refuse to participate in injustice:

A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the State with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated by it as enemies.

It is difficult not to agree that people should not participate in injustice perpetrated by the...

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