Questions and Answers for Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience

Rhetorical questions are questions that have only one right answer. The following is a classic example of a rhetorical question: "Is the pope Catholic?" This question is not meant to get people...

Latest answer posted January 30, 2020 1:46 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

To Henry David Thoreau, people can best improve the government by being the best, moral people that they can be. He believes that people are most often restrained from bettering society through...

Latest answer posted July 24, 2016 7:46 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

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...

Latest answer posted October 25, 2018 1:41 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

There is much that Thoreau learns from his short time in jail about both his town and his relationship to the government. Thoreau gets thrown in jail because he has refused to pay the poll-tax for...

Latest answer posted November 10, 2019 6:07 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau believes that the best kind of government is one that governs not at all. Governments, like all human institutions, are, of their very nature, corrupt. Though governments are established on...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2018 6:40 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

When Henry Thoreau’s essay was first published in 1849, it was titled “Resistance to Civil Government.” In 1866, four years after his death, it was published again and re-named “Civil...

Latest answer posted May 14, 2016 1:33 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

Tone in literature is the attitude or feelings a writer expresses towards the subject at hand. Tone is expressed primarily through word choice. For example, when Thoreau opens his essay with the...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2020 10:57 am UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In his essay "Civil Disobedience," essayist and activist Henry David Thoreau describes the experience of being put in jail for one night when he refused to pay a poll tax. He describes his feelings...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2020 12:44 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau is arguing that people have a duty to refuse to participate in evil. He says that people do not have the duty to actually go out and fix evils that occur in the...

Latest answer posted August 17, 2013 5:39 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau asserts the right of an individual to follow his or her conscience to do what he or she feels is right, even though the state may not agree with him or her. In this...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2018 12:19 am UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau takes issue with the practice of majority rule because, so very often, the majority does not do what is just or right. He believes that the individual must decide what is right and wrong...

Latest answer posted April 7, 2019 5:40 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

It shows that he considered spending a night in jail for standing up for his beliefs to be just one of his various activities that week. It wasn’t special or particularly life-changing. He was...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2016 10:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

"Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau was written to explain why Thoreau had refused to pay his taxes and gone to jail. Thoreau's decision to disobey the United States government was grounded...

Latest answer posted February 14, 2016 1:05 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience is an essay about Thoreau’s ideas about the government and his recounting of the time he spent in jail for not paying his taxes. After his release from jail, a friend paid his...

Latest answer posted February 19, 2015 9:20 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

To be able to answer this question, let's first look at a definition of "expedient." According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "expedient," when used as a noun, means "something done or...

Latest answer posted November 25, 2019 2:03 am UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Additionally: Thoreau was dismayed and frustrated by the inability of the antislavery movement of his day to engender and enforce policy. In paragraph 10, he writes: “There are thousands who are in...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2016 11:30 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In paragraph 40 of "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau is at pains to stress that, contrary to the impression he may have given, he is not a trouble-maker. He doesn't wish to quarrel with any man or...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2018 8:39 am UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In his famous essay "Civil Disobedience," Henry David Thoreau argues that people are accountable to their consciences first and their governments afterwards. According to Thoreau, the best forms of...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2020 12:18 am UTC

4 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

This quote needs to be understood within the context of the overall essay. "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau extols individuality and disparages government. Thoreau...

Latest answer posted October 24, 2018 6:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau did not think very highly of voting in general or individuals who expressed their opinions by casting votes. He thought that voting was too much like gambling: risky and uncertain. He...

Latest answer posted January 1, 2018 4:00 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

I would argue that the thesis statement to "Civil Disobedience" can be found in a paragraph near the middle of the essay: If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2018 5:48 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

To take the opposing view, Thoreau may have been released after someone paid the fine. For, in his passage, Thoreau writes When I came out of prison--for someone interfered, and paid the tax....

Latest answer posted September 9, 2010 2:54 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Ultimately, Thoreau believes that sheer weight of numbers does not sanctify the will of the majority. In other words, just because a majority of people believe something, that doesn't necessarily...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2018 6:44 am UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

During his writing of "Civil Disobedience," Henry David Thoreau's biggest criticisms of government policy were of the institution of slavery and the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). He believed...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2020 12:06 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

In his letter from a Birmingham jail after he was arrested during the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King takes his final words directly from Thoreau: I submit that an individual who breaks...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2014 1:27 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau is arguing that "honest" citizens of Massachusetts who wish to oppose slavery should do so by refusing to pay taxes. The "face" of the government is the tax collector, and the test here is...

Latest answer posted March 30, 2019 3:01 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau’s audience in “Civil Disobedience” is the American public. He wrote this essay in 1847, while Black people were still enslaved on plantations in the American South, and his...

Latest answer posted September 3, 2020 1:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau differentiates among different types of taxes because he feels differently about them based on their purposes. He says that he pays the highway tax "because I am as desirous of being a good...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2018 12:39 am UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In theory, I agree with Thoreau's ideas. The claim that we ought to always follow our conscience and never do anything that will, in any way, go against our sense of what is just and right seems to...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2019 12:11 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau feels that majority rule is incompatible with the rule of indvidual conscience. He writes: the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are...

Latest answer posted October 14, 2019 8:33 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

The tone of this paragraph is earnest. Thoreau speaks to his audience as a concerned friend, as someone who has lived and seen and realized and now wants to impart the knowledge he's acquired for...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2017 10:21 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

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...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2019 7:09 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

"Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau is one of the most famous essays ever written on a person's duty to follow their conscience rather than blindly follow the government in matters that...

Latest answer posted December 9, 2018 5:50 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

As a Transcendentalist, Henry Thoreau believed in the power of the individual, and that people hold their own “higher laws” in their hearts and minds and souls, independent of any man-made...

Latest answer posted November 26, 2016 11:22 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In the first paragraph, Thoreau refers to the government as a "tool" of the people. It is the means through which the will of the people is done. Although Thoreau does not use this image, we might...

Latest answer posted January 21, 2018 12:43 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In this masterful essay, Thoreau elaborates on his decision to refuse to pay taxes to support a war in Mexico that he saw as unjust and completely wrong. This essay therefore explores the nature of...

Latest answer posted January 25, 2013 4:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

By spending a night in jail for not paying the state poll tax, Henry David Thoreau took the opportunity to protest two specific government policies: (1) its permission for slavery to persist in the...

Latest answer posted November 28, 2016 11:21 am UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

“Diction” refers to the author’s choice of words and manner of speaking. Remember too, that Thoreau first delivered an early version of what we now call “Civil Disobedience” as a public lecture to...

Latest answer posted August 13, 2016 10:19 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

A metaphor is a figure of speech. It is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things that are seemingly unrelated; however, the comparison helps point out common characteristics...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2020 1:01 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau argues that the "mass of men serve the state . . . not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies." It is as though these men who serve in the standing army, the militia, or as...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2018 11:13 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau is happy not to live under a monarchy, where rule by the whims of one individual can change the course of the lives of the population. On the other hand, Thoreau believes in the power of...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2018 8:05 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Given where Thoreau is in his essay, his greatest objection would be to governmental policy where issues of conscience are directly addressed. For example, I think that Thoreau would stand firmly...

Latest answer posted March 3, 2012 3:23 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

One problem with every individual following their own conscience is that consciences can be wrong. While we are told "let your conscience be your guide," almost all religious groups understand that...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2020 12:54 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

I think that Thoreau approaches his essay in a fundamentally Romantic manner. One such way that this is evident is in his stress on individuality and individualism throughout the essay. For...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2012 11:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

At the start of this essay, Thoreau argues that the war with Mexico proves that the government of the US can be perverted by a relatively few people. To me, he is saying that the war is made...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2010 10:07 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

One of the more general ways Thoreau describes as a function of serving the state is when the public (individuals and/or society as a whole) goes along with a governing body and does not affect its...

Latest answer posted November 25, 2014 7:20 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

Compare Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Resistance to Civil Government” (now known as “Civil Disobedience”) with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance.” While Emerson speaks in more general terms...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2018 12:42 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Civil Disobedience

In "Resistance to Civil Government, Thoreau argues that the standing army, which is "an arm of the standing government," is the vehicle of government abuse. Thoreau asks his reader to Witness the...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2009 10:56 am UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

From his essay, Civil Disobedience, it appears that Thoreau is most concerned with government preserving the liberty of its citizens rather than increasing material equality between its citizens....

Latest answer posted December 15, 2015 8:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau found his brief imprisonment interesting for a number of reasons. First, he discovered that the jail was quite a clean and civilized place. He describes his cell, which was whitewashed once...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2020 3:56 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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