Civil Disobedience, and Other Essays Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Civil Disobedience

• "Civil Disobedience" was Thoreau's essay on the moral responsibilities of a citizen of a democracy.

• The idea of the essay was that when men saw their government acting immorally, they should withdraw their support from that government.
• Thoreau said government stuck its nose into too many things, and always got in the way.

• Thoreau was quick to add that he was not an anarchist. He did not call for the abolition of government, but a better government that is based on justice.
• Thoreau did not like that government saw soldiers as machines to obey its will and carry out its purposes.
• Thoreau was writing about slavery. He thought slavery to be shameful and immoral, and that men who had been complacent about the issue were to blame.
• Thoreau told men the best way to withdraw their support was to stop paying their taxes.
• Thoreau told of...

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