If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, i say, break the law, wrote henry david thoreau in his 1849 essay, on the duty of civil disobedience inspired by a night in jail after refusing to pay a poll tax benefiting the mexican war,. Civil disobedience definition, the refusal to obey certain laws or governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy, characterized by the employment of such nonviolent techniques as boycotting, picketing, and nonpayment of taxes see more. The following year his essay on the topic, civil disobedience, was published thoreau was not an anarchist he did not believe that there should be no government, only a more just one than currently existed if the government would not improve itself, he argued, it was a just man's duty to refuse to support it it is not a. He first read civil disobedience while he sat in a south african prison for the crime of nonviolently protesting discrimination against the indian population in the transvaal the essay galvanized gandhi, who wrote and published a synopsis of thoreau's argument, calling its 'incisive logic  unanswerable' and referring to. Writer's note: the following summary condenses the content of “civil disobedience it retains first-person point of view, using the pronoun i, to make the summary more readable and easier to understand however, except for boldfaced quotations in red type, the writing is mine, not.
Henry david thoreau was born on this day 200 years ago a few decades later, aged 32, he wrote an essay that fundamentally influenced twentieth-century protest “civil disobedience,” originally titled “resistance to civil government,” was written after thoreau spent a night in the unsavory confines of the. Indian leader mohandas gandhi (or mahatma gandhi) liked what thoreau wrote in 1907, when gandhi was starting his first satyagraha fight in south africa, he printed a short outline of civil disobedience that he wrote in an indian language he said that civil disobedience was the largest cause for the end of slavery in. Henry david thoreau wrote the essay civil disobedience to show his opposition to slavery and american imperialism his essay has influenced many.
Henry david thoreau wrote the essay civil disobedience to show his opposition to slavery and american imperialism his essay has influenced many prominent civil rights activists, including dr martin luther king, jr thoreau's essay civil disobedience or resistance to civil government, published in 1849, is a call to arms. Civil disobedience and other essays an 1849 essay on the right and obligation to follow your conscience i became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good no other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than henry david. A short henry david thoreau biography describes henry david thoreau's life, times, and work also explains the historical and literary context that influenced civil disobedience.
On the duty of civil disobedience by henry david thoreau walden economy when i wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, i lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which i had built myself , on the shore of walden pond, in concord, massachusetts, and earned my living by. The incident later inspired thoreau to write his essay civil disobedience in which thoreau argues for nonviolent, passive disobedience to protest unjust government actions the essay, which was titled resistance to civil government when it was first published in 1849, was later reprinted under the title.