In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau says that "any man more right than his neighbors constitues a majority of one already." What does he mean by this? 

Expert Answers info

Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write6,501 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

When Thoreau describes the majority of one, he is registering his disapproval of a system where the majority rules. Just because a person is in the majority does not mean that the person believes what is just or moral or right. The majority can absolutely be unjust and morally wrong. For him, the one person not included in the 99% majority might still be in the right, and thus counts for more than all the people who are in the wrong. If one is correct in one's belief, one's belief is more important and is a majority of one over however many people are against that one. He says, "I think that it is...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 327 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bcsaund eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write21 answers

starTop subject is Literature

check Approved by eNotes Editorial