Civil disobedience essay questions

Moral issues must be decided by the individual and his conscience, not by the majority through government. The Mexican War, which Thoreau believes must be stopped, may be halted by individual action, but not through the political process. Civil Disobedience is a call for limited government. Through nonpayment of taxes (the withholding of support from a government that commits immoral acts), the individual protests the government's involvement in issues over which it has no proper jurisdiction. This constitutes a "peaceable revolution," not a violent one. Thoreau is still able to accept that government has its place: "In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can. ."

On July of 1980, the government of Edward Gierek, facing an economic crisis, decided to raise the prices while slowing the growth of the wages. A wave of strikes and factory occupations began at once. [4] At the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, workers were outraged at the sacking of Anna Walentynowicz, a popular crane operator and well-known activist who became a spark that pushed them into action. [8] The workers were led by electrician Lech Wałęsa , a former shipyard worker who had been dismissed in 1976, and who arrived at the shipyard on August 14. [4] The strike committee demanded rehiring of Anna Walentynowicz and Lech Wałęsa, raising a monument to the casualties of 1970, respecting of worker's rights and additional social demands.

The two major issues being debated in the United States during Thoreau's life were slavery and the Mexican-American War. Both issues play a prominent part in Thoreau's essay. By the late 1840s, slavery had driven a wedge in American society, with a growing number of Northerners expressing anti-slavery sentiments. In the 1850s, the country became even more polarized, and the introduction of slavery-friendly laws such as the Fugitive Slave Law , prompted many abolitionists to protest the government's actions via various forms of civil disobedience. (Slavery was only to come to an end a generation later when the abolitionist North would win the Civil War (1861-1865), Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation would free all slaves in Confederate territory; eventually, the 13th Amendment would ban slavery everywhere.) In addition to this domestic conflict, the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) proved a point of much contention: Precipitated by boundary disputes between the United States and Mexico, the war was ultimately fought in order to expand American territory--many Americans felt it was our "Manifest Destiny" to seize all the land we could--and as a result the United States gained much of the present American Southwest, including California, Nevada and Utah. Thoreau and other opponents of the war argued that the campaign constituted an unnecessary act of aggression and that it was pursued on the basis of arrogance rather than any philosophically justifiable reasons.

Civil disobedience essay questions

civil disobedience essay questions


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