Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government.”
Look at Henry David Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government.” He claims that it is not just our right as Americans, but it is also our duty to defy unjust laws. This is a very American idea. Part of the American identity involves intervening in the face of injustice. Do you agree with this point? What boundaries should exist to those interventions? Support your claims using “Resistance to Civil Government” AND one of the other assigned readings from this week.
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||4||Style||APA|
Civil disobedience is the right to disregard any unjust laws from the government by the citizens of a given country. The United States of America, dubbed the land of the free enjoy such rights by failing to follow legislations or bylaws that they find to contravene morality and the boundaries of justice (Escudero & Pallares, 2021). The Civil Rights Movement is an example of a situation when the United States citizens, especially the African-Americans the discriminatory and segregation laws that most states had enacted (Escudero & Pallares, 2021). Given, the above, the above, this essay evaluates Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government.”
It is agreeable that every American does not just have a right to disregard unjust laws, but also that it forms part of their duty. Americans must also intervene in the face of glaring injustice to defend the country from dictatorship or flagrant disobedience to human rights (Escudero & Pallares, 2021). Sometimes, legislators can lose their conscience and make laws that produce undesired results and thus fail to serve the purpose for which it was enacted. Thoreau argues that “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward” (Thoreau, 2016) ). It suggests that when legislators fail to enact just laws, then citizens must reclaim their sovereignty and disregard such laws and respect only the just ones.
However, such interventions should not be absolute but subject to some form of boundaries. The citizens must first give the legislators and other law-making agencies the opportunities to amend or unmake such unjust laws before they can choose to disregard them. In such respect, Thoreau opines “Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them” (Thoreau, ). It ensures that the citizens do not plunge the country into chaos each time the government enacts unjust or unreasonable legislations. It is therefore imperative that citizens exercise some reasonable restraint and patience when reacting to unjust laws.
In light of the foregoing, civil disobedience is the right that a people enjoy to disregard unjust legislations. Americans, have used such political doctrine to enable them check the excesses of legislature and the executive, as a means of protecting their rights and fundamental freedoms. Such concept is justifiable on the grounds that it helps the citizens from preserving their country from sinking into dictatorship. however, they must excise restraint and patience when doing so to avoid creating a chaotic society.
Escudero, K., & Pallares, A. (2021). Civil Disobedience as Strategic Resistance in the US Immigrant Rights Movement. Antipode, 53(2), 422-444.
Thoreau, H. D. (2016). Resistance to civil government. Revista Filosofía UIS, 15(1), 317-333.