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Self-Reliance and Civil Disobedience

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Ryan Chen

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Self-Reliance and Civil Disobedience

Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendentalism
About 1836-1860
God and significance of intuitive thought
Society is corrupt
Individuality is key
Oversoul
Non-Conformity
Henry David Thoreau Bio
July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862
Was a teacher
Older brother John died in his arms
cut himself while shaving-Lockjaw
Moved to a cabin in the woods
Jailed for refusing to pay poll taxes
Context
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Criticism by Casy Burnsed
We learn the intentions of the government; they take their principle and turn it into action, also known as laws. But because turning principle into action doesn’t work effectively, we see these laws becoming unjust. The laws have been transformed into unjust laws that no longer work for the good of the people, whether they are the majority or the minority.
WORDS GO HERE
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Went to Harvard
Well known for his essay
SOAPSTone
Speaker: Thoreau
Occasion: Mexican-American war and Jail
Audience: Followers of the Lyceum Movement
Purpose: Reform American government
Subject: Corruption of government
Tone: Defiant
Modern Day Transcendentalists
Demi Lovato
AKA Resistance to Civil Government
Mexican-American War (Cali)
Thoreau opposed slavery
Refused to pay taxes
Jailed for a night(Aunt paid bail)
Connection
Majority is not always right
Government is not useful
People should rise up
Salt March
Romanticism
Stress on imagtionation and emotion
Intuition and the natural way
Love of country life and nature
Emphasis of common man




He begins to ease the readers mind in the fourth paragraph “Certainly the [government] machine will wear out” (Thoreau 1212). Thoreau wonders if we just accept the injustice will it be okay? The government machine cannot last forever, can it? Can’t we live our lives and ignore that it even exists in hopes that it will vanish? He retracts “I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine” (Thoreau 1212). He gathers on to decide that it is not his place in the world to write his governor and remedy such issues that are a plague amongst the people. This remedy the state has provided is too much hassle for one man, because one man has too many important things to do in daily life. Let this remedy be more convenient for the public to interact with, or better yet, have the government know what is wrong and let it fix itself!

Thoreau meets the face of the government once a year and this particular face had taken the form of tax-gatherer. “This is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then says distantly, Recognize me;” (Thoreau 1213). There is a mentality behind a government representative, that ego in which says “recognize me; for I am God”. The tax-gatherer; the only form of government official Thoreau is allowed to meet with face-to-face. Is Thoreau not able to meet with the President? Is he not worthy enough, powerful enough, just enough to meet with the leader of the free world, the man who enforces the idealism of democracy? Thoreau takes a pragmatic stance to the character of the tax-gatherer; how do we know he’s a good person? He should be a good man, as well as a good government official. This representative of our government should enter into this contract of employment without bias of good, nor bad, towards his neighbor and deal with a situation that has occurred. He should not have in his mind, thoughts such as, if a man is a criminal or a respected citizen of the law.

“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison” (Thoreau 1213). If the government is to unjustly place a man into prison then they may as well place a just man into prison. He is referring to his time imprisoned for not paying his taxes, he views himself as an innocent man, and therefore, he is just. “It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race, should find them; on that separate, but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her” (Thoreau 1214). Thoreau is categorizing himself with such honorable ideas and pleads as the Indians, or the Mexican, or the fugitive slave, all people who are fighting for their freedom and natural rights. “They do not know by how much truth as stronger then error” (Thoreau 1214). The truth these incarcerated men tell will ring much louder than the falsehood of the government and the unjust imprisonment of men whose causes are more just than the government is good.

“The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view, to the common interest; but government which rule with a view to the private interests, whether of the one, or of the few, or of the many, are perversions” (Aristotle 476). Aristotle had realized this 350 years before Jesus Christ was said to have walked the Earth. How it is that Aristotle had understood what would still be relevant 2000 years later on the other side of the world? We are doomed to repeat history and only those who care to look backward and forward are coherent of the present
"Thoreau uses logos, ethos, and pathos to invoke the reader to side by focusing his ideas around our democratic government.
The government, therefore, becomes disconnected with all aspects of the people; they no longer carry a friendly face, but rather are represented by a cold, metallic clang of a machine.
Thoreau leads into questioning why our government does not listen to the wise minority and listens to the people who see the flaws and faults with our government.
Thoreau’s work is still frighteningly relevant today as it was almost 200 years ago.
Nature
Emerson was a mentor to Thoreau
His father died of stomach cancer before his eighth birthday
All three of his brothers died
one of the most famous transcendentalists
wife died at age 20
SOAPSTone
Speaker-Emerson
Occasion- used in a lecture one month after marriage
Audience-Attendees of the Lyceum movement
Purpose-To show that man should not conform to corruption of society
Subject- man has become blind to individuality
Tone-Virtuous, wise
Connection of works
It was in this period that Emerson penned his second collection of Essays, which was published in 1841. Included in it is Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” It is a near reflection of the self-culture introduced earlier in the Unitarian reform by W.E. Channing. Emerson uses the essay as a vehicle for stressing the importance of the individual’s intellectual and moral development, and for making a defensive statement supporting individualism itself (Belasco 683).
Literary Criticism
We learn the intentions of the government; they take their principle and turn it into action, also known as laws. But because turning principle into action doesn’t work effectively, we see these laws becoming unjust. The laws have been transformed into unjust laws that no longer work for the good of the people, whether they are the majority or the minority.
We learn the intentions of the government; they take their principle and turn it into action, also known as laws. But because turning principle into action doesn’t work effectively, we see these laws becoming unjust. The laws have been transformed into unjust laws that no longer work for the good of the people, whether they are the majority or the minority.
The Anthem by Good Charlotte
This song is essentially about not caring what others think and just going by ones own rules and intuition in life and Self-Reliance is all about not succumbing to the pressures of society and being your own person
"i dont ever wanna be like you
i dont wanna do the things you do"
"go to college, a univirsity
get a real job
thats what they said to me
but i could never live the way
they want"
Demi is a bright young girl who is constantly in the spot light and time after time she has proven she doesn't care what society and those around her think.
Demi is a non-conformist who expresses herself and her life through her music and performing.
She chooses to speak out on subjects such as bullying and self harm because she believes that people should have wider knowledge on the subjects and that in hand makes her a modern day Transcendentalist.
Ryan Chen, Aleah Fine, Imaan Mir, Ben Sigmon
"The government is best which governs least"
Born May 25, 1803

Died April 27, 1882
Essential Questions
Transcendentalists tend to be very chill and independent, they dont focus on what those around them think. They live for themselves.
Both Self-Reliance and Civil Disobedience are focused on not following society and to stand out rather than to conform to the group. You wont make it in the world if you aren't your own person.
Full transcript