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Forum Post: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience-Thoreau

Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 23, 2011, 8:13 p.m. EST by catlover (1)
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by Henry David Thoreau

[1849, original title: Resistance to Civil Government]

english text


mp3 audio 1 hour male voice


mp3 audio 54 minutes female voice


excerpt How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also.

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. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.



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[-] 1 points by dingy58 (172) 10 years ago

Thanks for posting that Thoreau is my personal hero.