In the essay “Civil Disobedience”, Henry David Thoreau expresses his idea of an ideal form of government; that which holds less control over its nation.“That government is best which governs least.”This is so because, according to him very rarely have government proven to be constructive and so people should not blindly support it. It is their duty to avoid and fight against the government’s wrong doings. He believes that if majority groups together and protest in a non violent form, they may improve the authorities.
But the community itself is frightened to take any action against it. In the essay, he protests that the amount collected as tax is used for supporting war against Mexico and other unjust causes like slavery, in revolt of which he refused to pay taxes, for which he was later imprisoned. It was this, which influenced him to write this account.
He shares his own experience of being behind bars, where too, he felt free because he carried no burden on his heart and his conscience was clear. It was a self-awakening process for him.The essay very firmly establishes Henry’s point that our individual conscience is our primary responsibility which should not be suppressed to support the wrongs of the world. Though it is not the duty of the individual to spend time in eradicating the evils of the world, but one can at least distance itself from them. According to him, unjust laws should not be respected, rather broken.He supports the idea of bringing about change through democratic means.
The idea explained holds complete relevance with the society of United States. He ends on the note that this form of idealconnection between the nation and its government has not been ever seen.“A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.”Civil Disobedience is one of the most powerful political accounts written in American history.Reference:Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings, 1937, Civil Disobedience, BrooksAtkinson.