Civil Disobedience Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience book cover
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In your opinion, does Thoreau’s essay "Civil Disobedience" enhance democracy? If yes, explain citing the essay. If no, explain citing the essay.

Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience" enhances democracy in that it empowers people when the state acts contrary to democratic principles. This is true even if a majority of people support, or vote for, unjust government actions.

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If one imagines democracy as simply a political system in which there is representative majority rule, then Thoreau's "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience " poses a major problem for it. Thoreau is writing about a basic fundamental problem with any government based on the principle of popular sovereignty. If a majority of the people can enact their will through government, what is the individual to do when the laws that are passed are contrary to their beliefs? Thoreau's answer is that the individual may choose to disobey the law and through their...

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