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"Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes."  --Alexander Haig

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Author Topic: Henry David Thoreau  (Read 968 times)

freeman4liberty

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Henry David Thoreau
« on: July 24, 2009, 10:45 AM NHFT »

I heartily accept the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

Henry David Thoreau
From:  On the duty of civil disobedience (very first of this essay)
 
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freeman4liberty

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Re: Henry David Thoreau
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 10:47 AM NHFT »

The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to — for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well — is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at least which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men. 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.

Henry David Thoreau
On the duty of civil disobedience(last paragraph)
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freeman4liberty

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Re: Henry David Thoreau
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 10:49 AM NHFT »

I hope you enjoy these quotes as much as I do.  If you do, consider reading "On the duty of civil disobedience" if you have not done so already.

It's an essay that is 23 pages long and is very critical of slavery, and the Mexican American war.

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Kat Kanning

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Re: Henry David Thoreau
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2009, 11:32 AM NHFT »

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TackleTheWorld

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Re: Henry David Thoreau
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2009, 12:51 PM NHFT »

My favorite:
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?  Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus (2) and Luther,(3) and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?
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AntonLee

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Re: Henry David Thoreau
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2009, 03:55 PM NHFT »

my fav:

Thus the State never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.
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