Civil Disobedience Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

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What does Thoreau mean when he says that "any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already"?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Thoreau is making the point that, just because a majority of people believe that something is right, it doesn't mean that it is. There are countless examples in history that could be used in support of this argument. Take slavery, for instance. The vast majority of Southern whites believed it was right, but was it? Most people would argue not, and Thoreau would agree with them. If one person in such a society were to stand up and say "This is wrong," immediately they would be in a majority of one; a moral, not a democratic majority. And if this moral majority believes that they are in the right, then they are fully...

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