Civil Disobedience Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience book cover
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Which did Thoreau think was most important: that government should increase the material equality between citizens or that government should preserve the liberty of its citizens?

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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.

Thoreau's thoughts about government are evidenced from the very first sentence of his treatise:

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.

He asserts that every man has a right to live according to the dictates of his conscience and that this right should not be abrogated (revoked) by government. Furthermore, he believes that no man should have to obey a government which resorts to unlawful actions such as the propagation of slavery or the invasion of another country (in this case, Mexico):

In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign...

(The entire section contains 532 words.)

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