Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

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In 1848, when Thoreau was living isolated from civil society on Walden Pond, he left his cabin to give a lecture at the Concord Lyceum entitled “The Rights and Duties of the Individual in Relation to Government”. This lecture described how and why in July 1846 he had been imprisoned for refusing to pay six years of overdue poll taxes on account of his objection to the Mexican-American War (1846–48) which he, and many Americans, considered an unlawful act. The essay was first published the following year as “Resistance to Civil Government” in Elizabeth Peabody’s

Aesthetic Papers

for May 1849. On July 4, 1854, having left the pond and being in the process of refining


, he gave a memorably caustic anti-slavery speech entitled “Civil Disobedience” based on his experience…

3054 words

Citation: Lombard, David. "Civil Disobedience". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 November 2021 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5958, accessed 19 April 2024.]

5958 Civil Disobedience 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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