Skip Nav

Henry David Thoreau Thoreau, Henry David - Essay

By Henry David Thoreau

❶The Ideological Legacy of the American Revolution". Once back in Concord, Thoreau went through a restless period.

Introduction

Navigation menu
Navigate Guide

He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable. American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his autobiography, he wrote:. Here, in this courageous New Englander's refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery's territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance.

Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.

The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama , these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.

Existentialist Martin Buber wrote, of Civil Disobedience. I read it with the strong feeling that here was something that concerned me directly It was the concrete, the personal element, the "here and now" of this work that won me over.

Thoreau did not put forth a general proposition as such; he described and established his attitude in a specific historical-biographic situation. He addressed his reader within the very sphere of this situation common to both of them in such a way that the reader not only discovered why Thoreau acted as he did at that time but also that the reader—assuming him of course to be honest and dispassionate— would have to act in just such a way whenever the proper occasion arose, provided he was seriously engaged in fulfilling his existence as a human person.

The question here is not just about one of the numerous individual cases in the struggle between a truth powerless to act and a power that has become the enemy of truth. It is really a question of the absolutely concrete demonstration of the point at which this struggle at any moment becomes man's duty as man Author Leo Tolstoy has cited Civil Disobedience as having a strong impact on his nonviolence methodology.

Others who are said to have been influenced by Civil Disobedience include: Putnam New York, Available at the Internet Archive. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 24 August Henry David Thoreau Core works and topics.

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Wendell Phillips Before the Concord Lyceum. John Brown Lyceum movement. Simple living Tax resistance. Emerson, 23 February Boston and New York: The Editor and G. Retrieved February 1, — via Internet Archive. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. Archived from the original on May 3, Retrieved September 22, Commentary on Today's Social and Political Issues: Based on the Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Others have been curious to learn what portion of my income I devoted to charitable purposes; and some, who have large families, how many poor children I maintained.

Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; [ Recent criticism has accused Thoreau of hypocrisy, misanthropy, and being sanctimonious, based on his writings in Walden , [] although this criticism has been perceived as highly selective.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 11 September For other uses, see Thoreau disambiguation. Abolitionism tax resistance development criticism civil disobedience conscientious objection direct action environmentalism anarchism simple living.

Mahatma Gandhi John F. Kennedy Martin Luther King, Jr. Reconstruction of the interior of Thoreau's cabin. Replica of Thoreau's cabin and a statue of him near Walden Pond. Anarcho-naturism Social ecology Anarcho-primitivism Veganarchism. This list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it. Core works and topics. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Wendell Phillips Before the Concord Lyceum. John Brown Lyceum movement. Simple living Tax resistance.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 27 July The Transformation of America, — Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences , p. The Price of Freedom: Political Philosophy from Thoreau's Journals. And How Do We Know? Archived from the original on The Almanac of American Letters. Archived from the original on May 3, Retrieved June 26, Retrieved November 21, Chapter 2 Archived September 8, , at the Wayback Machine..

Archived from the original PDF on September 25, Archived from the original on October 18, The Life of Henry David Thoreau. The Writings of Henry David Thoreau. Accessed June 11, The Mind on Fire. Archived from the original PDF on January 5, Archived from the original on November 29, A Yankee in Canada.

The Ideological Legacy of the American Revolution". American Review of Canadian Studies. Blake Archived June 17, , at the Wayback Machine.. The Atlantic Monthly , October. Reprint Archived March 7, , at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 23 September Philip Van Doren Stern, ed. Thoreau as World Traveler. Blake Archived June 17, , at the Wayback Machine. The Book of Dead Philosophers. Archived from the original on July 8, Retrieved June 1, University of Georgia Press.

The Flowering of New England. Dutton and Company, Inc. Wilderness and the American Mind: Journal of Homosexuality A Queer History of the United States. Race, Sex and Nationality in the Modern Text. A Life of the Mind. University of California Press. Writings From Whitman to Sedaris. University of Wisconsin Press. University of Massachusetts Press. Archived from the original on June 20, The Saunterer's Synoptic Vision.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Humboldt's New World. Oxford University Press, A Study in American Experience and Culture.

Boni and Liveright, Gustav Stickley and the Craftsman Movement. Shawn Chandler Bingham, Thoreau and the sociological imagination: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, I Found No Peace. Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Archived March 8, , at the Wayback Machine. Charles Ives and His World. Princeton University Press, pp. Anarchism and Other Essays. Readings And Reflections" — via Amazon. The New York Times. His Character and Opinions".

A Portrait in Paradox. Archived from the original on October 19, Retrieved October 19, Because he was right". Archived from the original on October 26, Retrieved October 21, The editor; New York,: Putnam — via Internet Archive. The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Excursions, translations, and poems.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge. Boston, Ticknor and Fields — via Internet Archive. The University of Adelaide. Archived from the original on August 24, Retrieved January 1, Ticknor and Fields — via Internet Archive. Harrison Gray Otis January 1, Fisher Unwin — via Internet Archive. Houghton, Mifflin — via Internet Archive.

From the Journal of Henry D. Boston, Houghton, Mifflin — via Internet Archive. Franklin Benjamin January 1, Printed exclusively for members of the Bibliophile Society — via Internet Archive. Thoreau Archived May 5, , at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 29, Best of Thoreau's Journals. Southern Illinois University Press. Thoreau's Importance for Philosophy. Fordham University Press, The Days of Henry Thoreau.

Princeton University Press, The Book of Concord: Thoreau's Life as a Writer. The Princeton Edition of Walden was published in I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Walden , In , Thoreau's house at Walden Pond was removed from its site; parts of it were incorporated into other structures around Concord, including a barn near Estabrook Woods. Ten years after Thoreau's death in , in a spontaneous tribute to the writer and philosopher, visitors to the pond began placing rocks, flowers, and twigs in a cairn on a spot near where the house had been.

The cairn became a standard stop for pilgrims to Walden. In the s, the exact site of Thoreau's house was located and excavated by Roland Robbins, and simple granite posts were placed to indicate the outline of the structure.

The proper use of Walden Pond and Walden Woods has been the subject of debate for over a century. Should it serve as a public park with full access for swimming, fishing, hunting, and camping? Should it be preserved in a pristine state? Should commercial development be allowed?

For several decades, the area has been open to the public for swimming and fishing. Those who have felt that the pond was threatened by overuse have been very vocal in Concord, and during the s the number of users per day was limited by closing the parking area when a certain capacity was reached.

During the same period, though, the town made it possible for some of the land around the pond to be developed. When the door to development opened, two projects were proposed: These plans were brought to the attention of Don Henley, lead singer of the rock group the Eagles, by a group of concerned local residents.

Henley spearheaded a campaign to preserve the area, and rallied political figures such as Senators Ted Kennedy and Paul Tsongas, as well as a number of actors and musicians, to the support of the Walden Woods Project WWP.

WWP arranged a number of fund-raising events, including rock concerts, movie premieres, and a "Walk for Walden Woods," and successfully negotiated with the developers to purchase the endangered land, as well as additional land in Walden Woods. The Institute is also the repository of the world's largest collection of Thoreau-related research material. The Thoreau Institute and the Thoreau Society promote continued interest in and research on Thoreau and his work.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Thoreau's major reform essays, walking essays, and natural history essays. Major essays by Henry D. Thoreau: A Walk to Wachusett» An essay about a journey Thoreau took with Richard Fuller, from Concord to the summit of Mount Wachusett located in Princeton, Massachusetts. (10 pages) A Winter Walk» An essay that deals with relationship with nature.

Privacy FAQs

[In the following essay, which was originally delivered as a lecture at a festival honoring Thoreau, the poet Rukeyser asserts that Thoreau's poems are “suburban in relation to the forest of the prose” and compares Thoreau to Sir Walter Raleigh.

About Our Ads

Thoreau is using an argumentative style of writing in this essay. The goal of this style is to be able to convince the readers that your statements are better and more valid than anybody else’s. There are three categories for the means of persuasion which are; Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. Today, the essay also appears under the title On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, perhaps to contrast it with William Paley's Of the Duty of Civil Obedience to which Thoreau was in part responding. For instance, the New American Library Signet Classics .

Cookie Info

Henry Thoreau wrote an essay titled Civil Disobedience that has through the years become the authoritative argument on the subject. People as distinguished as Martin Luther King and Gandhi have used this essay as a cornerstone in their respective movements. Walden by Henry David Thoreau Essay - Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden, by Henry David Thoreau is written in first person about the events and ideas that came to the author during his time living at Walden Pond in the eighteen hundreds.