What Are The Two Government Policies Thoreau Objects To

What are the two government policies Thoreau most objects to? (In "Civil Disobedience," by Henry David Thoreau)

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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 southern states, and (2) its recent entrance into a war with Mexico.

The state poll tax was supposed to be paid annually by each man of voting age, simply for the right to vote in elections. (This kind of tax is now illegal, abolished by the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in 1964. No one needs to pay to vote anymore.) This seemed to be a way merely for the state to collect money into a general fund that it could use elsewhere—like in supporting slavery and the war. Thoreau didn’t intend to vote; in fact, during his lifetime, he never voted in an election. So he figured the tax didn’t apply to him. Merely voting seemed to him to be a futile act anyway. “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it,” he says in paragraph 11. “It is only expressing to men feebly your...

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