On civil disobedience pdf

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This is the latest accepted revision, reviewed on 6 December 2017. The Writings of Henry D. American transcendentalist Henry David On civil disobedience pdf that was first published in 1849.


In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. In 1848, Thoreau gave lectures at the Concord Lyceum entitled “The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government”. This formed the basis for his essay, which was first published under the title Resistance to Civil Government in 1849 in an anthology called Æsthetic Papers. Today, the essay also appears under the title On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, perhaps to contrast it with William Paley’s Of the Duty of Civil Obedience to which Thoreau was in part responding.

For instance, the 1960 New American Library Signet Classics edition of Walden included a version with this title. On Civil Disobedience is another common title.

The word civil has several definitions. The one that is intended in this case is “relating to citizens and their interrelations with one another or with the state”, and so civil disobedience means “disobedience to the state”.