“Civil Disobedience” Discussion

Out for the awesome FBLA meeting? Didn’t have a chance to participate in today’s discussion? Respond to one of the prompts below, or to a peer’s comment. Remember, citing text from the reading earns you full points (10/10) whereas a simple comment earns you 7/10.
Happy dialogue-ing!

  • To what extent is Thoreau’s idea of government possible?
  • Thoreau was correct in his refusal to pay taxes for that in which he did not believe or use.

Forum closes Thursday at noon (our time!)


11 thoughts on ““Civil Disobedience” Discussion

  1. Thoreau was entirely just in his refusal to pay his taxes. He was entirely against this war, what the war stood for, and what the results of the war would be. At the bottom of page 4 he says “even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail.” Sitting back and waiting for the government to handle the issue wouldn’t have gotten anything done. Thoreau blatantly opposed this war and wasn’t going to just sit back until someone handed him a ballot. he immediately stopped support of the cause and made a statement to others that he was fighting against this war.

  2. I agree that Thoreau was correct in his refusal to pay his taxes. The last paragraph on page 6 says, “Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”. He is saying that there is unjust laws out in the world and are we just going to sit back and obey even though we dont agree, or are we going to violate the laws, challenge them, to make them just? Thoreau believes we should “transgress” the laws, because later on it the paragraph he says, “why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults and do better than it would have them?”. He doesnt understand why those unjust laws dont call the citizens to action to try and change them, because if you dont believe in something there is no use playing it safe and giving your support. Many people disagree with the laws to, but arent stepping up and taking action for what they believe in, like Thoreau did, when he refused to pay his taxes. Stepping up and refusing to pay your taxes because you dont believe in them could start a chain reaction for other people who feel the same way.

  3. I believe that Thoreau was correct in his taxes for that in which he did not believe or use. He was very aware of the consequences and chose to do it anyway for standing up for what he believed in. On page 10 its says ” Some yearsago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself “pay,” it said, “or be locked up in the jail.” I declined to pay.” He was willing to go to this extreme to stand up for what he believed in and since he saw the consequences and it wasn’t harmful to society i agree that he was correct in doing this.

  4. I agree with Jenelle and Brandi, that Thoreau was correct in his refusal to pay his taxes in which he did not believe in. He took a stand against what he regarded made you an “agent of injustice” (1). He did what others were scared to do, and challenges those who are uneasy, “Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine” (8 second paragraph). Thoreau refusing to pay his taxes is a prime example of the chink in armor that is so eager to fight in the Mexican/American War. His lack of support of the war would maybe open those people’s eyes who were blindly paying their taxes on it, to the evils a war can bring to citizen throughout America. He might not have started a country-wide resistance against the war by not paying his dues, but he might have made someone think deeper and make them question am I “being an agent of injustice?”

  5. Yes Thoreau was correct in refusal to pay taxes in which he did not believe in. This is because he did not want people to die because of his tax money that was going to the Mexican-American war. He refused his hands to be red with some else’ blood neither was he willing to let the money be used to buy the weapons that would be used. “till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with β€” the dollar is innocent β€” “. (Thoreau part 3 paragraph 9) and because of these reasons he had every right to refuse to pay his taxes for something he did no agree or want to support. Not only was Thoreau not wanting to pay for the killing of people but he also did not support slavery which was a huge part of that war he also was right not to pay taxes for that because he knew right from wrong he did pay taxes that helped support schools and public education as well as highway taxes. So it was not like he was being cheap and not wanting to pay money he just did not want to support something that he felt was truly wrong to fund. Thoreau did do the right thing by not paying, he was choosing to stand up, and because of him we have the great leaders that have gone down into history.

    (this is the website i used because I turned in my annotations http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil3.html)

  6. It was not only the taxes going to the war that he refused to pay. He also refused to pay a tax to a non-profit organization (the church) simply because he did not attend it, yes he does not want to be a part of something for which he never signed up for but my grandmother will never use the skate park but her taxes went to the construction of that.

    Also a lot of people were talking about one person changing the world and Thoreau was doing this, but Thoreau not paying his taxes simply landed him in jail while the War raged on anyway. His actions did not really cause a chain reaction and his neighbors looked down on him for it. “My neighbors did not salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another” (13.7). Someone paid his taxes for him instead. His actions only made for an interesting story for Thoreau to tell, nothing that major.

    Just note I admire Thoreau for his boldness , just supplying a counter argument πŸ™‚

  7. I agree that Thoreau was correct in his refusal to pay his taxes. on page 16 first paragraph he says, “They have never received any encouragement from me, and they never will.” Not anough people stand up for what they believe in and Thoreau is standing up by not paying taxs to support the war. He did not want to support people dieing. i think it was right of him to stand up for himself and not pay taxes.

    On page 8 at the bottowm of paragraph 9 Thoreau says, “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. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution.” I think that if anough people did not pay their taxes that maybe it would change the governments views on peoples opinions. This would be a good way to show the government that you dont support it or agree with it by not paying for something you dont believe in.

  8. I agree with Bridgette and Jenelle and I can see where Annalise is coming from. I think that Thoreau was correct in his reasoning for not paying taxes. In the end, many of the transcendentalists’ main point was to remain true to yourself by doing what you think is right, no matter what anyone else thinks is right or wrong. Thoreau was just acting by this principal, showing that he clearly did not approve of the way that the government was handling things he was being taxed for. For him, not paying the tax was his way of doing his duty to show others that he did not believe in the events occurring. Towards the bottom of paragraph 13 on page 10, he writes, “I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax”. He is only standing up for what he believes is just and I do not think that anyone should be right in criticizing his choices.

  9. I think that it was incorrect for Thoreau to not pay his taxes. He says “wash his hands of it” (pg 5) is what he is doing when he refuses to pay the taxes for the War because he is completely against it and does not want a part of it however by not paying the taxes he is not giving the soldiers the equipment they need that would allow them to get the war over with sooner. Thoreau is instead dragging out the war thus killing even more men. Thoreau also refuses to pay his church taxes, just because he doesn’t go. I disagree with this because when modern adults pay taxes they send them to things they dont still use in example they help pay for education that they’re not currently using its for the benefit of others to grow our society and better educate our children. Thoreau’s selfishness when it comes to trying to be strictly himself is actually restricting his community. Thoreau only payed the taxes he wanted to, if everyone else did that there would be no funding for anything if everyone could just decide they weren’t into that tax. The problem with him refusing to pay taxes is despite others following him and making “action of masses of men” (pg 5) they would be depriving their communities with no funding and ruining their surrondings.

    • Thoreau was correct to refuse to pay his taxes as Bridgette also believes. He says on the bottem of page 8,”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 the shed of innecent blood.” Thoreau is saying that that peoples rufusal to pay taxes saves the shed of innecent blood in the Mexican ammerican war. If they could just have the willingness to stand up against the goverment for what they believe in. They might just save innecent lives, so show some courage for your own beliefs!

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