What is the biggest act of civil disobedience in "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail," the play written by Robert E. Lee?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The play features many moments of Thoreau's resistance being motivated by a sense of personal and conscientious opposition.  I would submit that the act of not wanting to pay taxes to a nation immersed in the war against Mexico might be the largest and most pressing act of civil disobedience.  It represents the most intense moment of disagreement between Thoreau and the state for a couple of reasons.  The first is the idea of not wanting to engage in anything that could possibly go against one's own sense of morality.  Thoreau's moral compass is so finely tuned that he would refuse to fulfill his supposed obligation as a citizen (paying taxes) if it contradicted his larger beliefs as a human being.  Another reason why this act in my mind occupies such an important stature is that many seek to impress upon him that paying taxes is a duty, and at this moment, Thoreau is forced to assume a higher moral stature.  Given the Vietnam War which was transpiring at the time of writing, such a position occupies even more nobility.

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The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

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