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Henry David Thoreau's Views on The Role of Government in Civil Disobedience

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Henry David Thoreau, the author of Civil Disobedience, clearly shows signs of being a rebel. He has many negative views and ideas on government, with a focus on American government as well. Thoreau believes that the government is not supposed to essentially fulfill their job. The text reads, “Government is best which governs not at all… Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. (1)” One can indicate that Thoreau declares governments ineffective and unnecessary. This makes him a rebel because he is arguing that government is nearly redundant.

The text also says, “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. (3)” This also shows Thoreau is a rebel due to the fact that he is arguing for the minority of the people. He would want everyone’s idea to be heard, as well as putting in effect of the majority and minority of the people. Thoreau believes in having every man’s idea heard, and acted upon. This is not as effective as acting upon what the majority of the state wants.

The song that characterizes Henry David Thoreau, the author of Civil Disobedience, is Stay at Home Dad by Macklemore. This song analyzes the job of a “stay at home” parent; especially in the views of a dad that contradicts the stereotype that woman are usually “stay at home” parents. The lyrics are, “…we have been, conditioned to believe we must fit in a role brainwashed by Babylon depicting our role must match our genitalia, hell to the no. It’s men who go to work, and women raise the children, but I know the hardest job is maintaining the household so I am doing a back to back, no trade backs, with this briefcase, for 2010, I am staying at home.”

As you can see, these lyrics are arguing that people do not have to give in to stereotypes, rather they can do whatever they want in life. Thoreau also believes that people must act upon what people believe. The article says, “ If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. (5)” Thoreau is arguing that one must not become latched on to something due to society’s expectations. People should be more free willed and outgoing on their on intentions and not others.

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Henry David Thoreau’s Views on the Role of Government in Civil Disobedience. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 27, 2021, from
“Henry David Thoreau’s Views on the Role of Government in Civil Disobedience.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
Henry David Thoreau’s Views on the Role of Government in Civil Disobedience. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2021].
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