“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (King). “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail” (231). These words written by Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau show the ideas which embodied these individuals. Each man became a leader in their own right and changed history for the better. Martin Luther King and Henry David Thoreau each have secured a spot in history because of the influence of their writings and their actions. One of the most influential essays ever written can be claimed by Thoreau. The influence of Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government is well known. Thinkers such as Tolstoy, Gandhi, King, and also the British Labor movement were influenced by Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government. In it Thoreau calls into question the democratic values which our nation is founded on. Most notably he calls into the question of majority rule. Thoreau believed, like other transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the importance of the individual. He argues that when power is in the hands of the people majority rules. After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands
I have paid no poll-tax in six years. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. Thoreau argues:There is but little virtue in the action of the masses of men. "Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey then until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once" (233). Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine" (233). Bartleby, despite the insignificance of his job, was part of our nation"tms democratic government. However, Bartleby does what Thoreau is urging people to do, which is for people to stand up against the oppression of a democratic government. This coincides with Thoreau"tms opinion that the minority is oppressed by the majority. "The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies " there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or moral sense" (228). of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. Thoreau practiced civil disobedience himself by refusing to pay some of the taxes levied upon him by the State. (227)Thoreau feels that people belonging to a democracy are essentially machines controlled by the majority, who are unable to make choices for themselves. At the end of Bartleby it is reveled that Bartleby was once employed as a subordinate clerk at the Dead Letter Office in Washington.
Some topics in this essay:
Waldo Emerson, Bartleby Thoreau, Office Washington, David Thoreau, Government Thoreau, , Melville Bartleby, Civil Government, British Labor, civil disobedience, resistance civil, resistance civil government, Resistance Civil, civil government, feebly desire prevail,
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