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Civil Disobedience

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by

Jared Chung

on 8 October 2014

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Transcript of Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience
by Henry David Thoreau (1849)
Paragraphs: 13 ("It is not a man's duty...") - 7 ("I do not hesitate to say...")
Speaker
Henry David Thoreau
- victim of unjust laws
Subject
- unjust laws of government
- the rights of people to respond to injustice in government
- individual's obligation to act upon their own beliefs
- conscience over laws
Audience
- Americans
- people who have experienced injustice from the government
- universal
Context
- Mexican-American War
("individuals using the standing government as their tool"(Thoreau 1))
- current state of slavery
- slave rebellions
- rise of civil rights (slavery)
Argument
- does not fit into a category, like Libertarianists or Jeffersonians
Since there are unjust laws, people have three options: to obey them, to transgress them, or to try to change them.

Rhetorical Strategies
analogy
metaphor
logos/pathos/ethos
allusion
juxtaposition
Metaphor
"If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perhance it will wear smooth - certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself ... the remedy will not be worse than the evil" (Thoreau 5).
Pathos
"If a man who has no property refuses ... soon permitted to go at large again" (Thoreau 4).
Allusion/Ethos
"Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?" (Thoreau 3).
Connection to
Overall Argument
Overall Argument: The government is best which governs least
Purpose
- explain how unjust laws from the government oppress the individual and separates them from the divine
-Thoreau refers back to times in history where unjust laws have caused tragedies and/or misfortune, which creates an anguish towards unjust laws.
-Thoreau wants people, more specifically on an individual level, to respond to unjust laws
-Thoreau poses this question in order to convey that the results of unjust laws are immoral and individuals need to respond to them
Logos / Analogy
"How can a man be satisfied to entertain ... and see that you are never cheated again" (Thoreau 2).
- logical layout of his argument
- analogy forces the audience to view their situation in a logical way
"Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform ... before it is hurt" (Thoreau 3).
Full transcript