How Henry David Thoreau Would View The Current State Of American Government And Society

How Henry David Thoreau Would View The Current State Of American Government And Society


Length: Essay 1 must be 1500 words in length. Include the word count at the end of
the essay.

Summary of Essay 1:
Henry David Thoreau, in his essay “Civil Disobedience,” published in 1849, expressed his
opinion that we, as citizens, must exercise our individual judgment and do what our
consciences determine is right, rather than what is dictated by law.
Essay 1 asks you to write a 5-page paper (1500 words) that answers the following
1. How would Henry David Thoreau view the current state of American government
and society?
a. To what, specifically, might he disagree? Why?
2. How might he respond to the examples of civil disobedience that appear in the
article “Modern Examples of Civil Disobedience?”
a. Would he find the use of civil disobedience surrounding these causes
The article presents various examples of ways in which people in our modern-day
society have addressed problems in society through civil disobedience. You will need to
identify key ideas in Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” and use those
key ideas to analyze the examples presented in the article. In other words, you will use
Thoreau’s ideas as a lens to analyze and evaluate the current state of the government of
the United States, as well as the various examples of civil disobedience discussed. To do
so, you will have to read the lens text to identify the author’s core arguments and
vocabulary. It is vital that you grapple with central ideas of the lens text, rather than
dealing with isolated quotes that may or may not be indicative of the author’s argument
as a whole.
In order to write this essay, you must analyze the modern-day examples of civil
disobedience through the lens of Henry David Thoreau, ultimately deciding if he would
find that the actions of the protestors are justified and exemplify his ideals. Some
questions that may help you formulate ideas for Essay 1 are listed below. These
questions are merely to inspire – they do not imply an outline or a list of questions that
you must answer in your paper. We will be discussing these questions in our group

meetings and brainstorming more questions and answers to help you generate a thesis
and ideas for Essay 1.
To what degree are the individuals in the examples accepting responsibility for
creating their ideal society?
How do the protests represent a “peaceable revolution?”
Where do you see examples of laws that have changed according to the
interests of the groups in power?
How might the policies under protest be considered immoral or unjust?
Is there evidence of enforcement of civil law by physical means?
Does the governing body (1) “honor individual desires and needs,” (2) “promote
justice over all,” and (3) “respect dissenting voices?

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