Changes must be reviewed before being essay on tea garden on this page. The Writings of Henry D.
The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government”. Thoreau was in part responding. This misinterpretation is one reason the essay is sometimes considered to be an argument for pacifism or for exclusively nonviolent resistance. 1848, just months after leaving Walden Pond.
Thoreau asserts that because governments are typically more harmful than helpful, they therefore cannot be justified. The judgment of an individual’s conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so “t is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. Because of this, it is “not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize”.
Political philosophers have counseled caution about revolution because the upheaval of revolution typically causes a lot of expense and suffering. Such a fundamental immorality justifies any difficulty or expense to bring to an end. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them. People who proclaim that the war in Mexico is wrong and that it is wrong to enforce slavery contradict themselves if they fund both things by paying taxes. Thoreau points out that the same people who applaud soldiers for refusing to fight an unjust war are not themselves willing to refuse to fund the government that started the war.
In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. State in which a free man can abide with honor. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.