Civil Disobedience, and Other Essays Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What did Thoreau say a man should do when his government was acting immorally?

In 'Civil Disobedience', Thoreau claimed that when one's government was acting immorally, it was a citizen's duty to disobey and withdraw his support from the government.

2. How did Thoreau begin 'Civil Disobedience'?

Thoreau began his essay, 'Civil Disobedience' by proposing a motto, "That government is best which governs not at all."

3. What did Thoreau say government got involved in, and what did he think was the result of this?

Thoreau said that government tended to get involved in control of trade and commerce and politics and did not accomplish anything except to get in the way of those who were trying to make a living off of those industries.

4. What did Thoreau claim not to be in 'Civil Disobedience' and what was his support for this?

In 'Civil Disobedience', Thoreau was quick to add that he was not an anarchist. He supports this claim by pointing out that he did not call for the abolition of government, but the building of a better government that is based on justice.

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