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On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,650 Ratings  ·  465 Reviews
Civil Disobedience argues that citizens should not permit their governments to overrule their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing their acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War, but the sentiments he expresses here are just as perti ...more
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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published 1849)
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James
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-fiction
Book Review
I read this nearly twenty years ago in a college course. I recently found my notes and listed a few below, so this isn’t a typical review you’ve seen from me.
My reaction to this work is pretty complicated. It had some thought-invoking ideas, but it was boring from a readability perspective. I am not one to be political or make statements without having all the facts. Everything contained in this work was important and definitely had meaning, but it seemed so “already known.” Kno
...more
Chris_P
Or how to not let yourself be manipulated by any kind of authority.An essay that states some of the basic ideas of being a human being, the way I see it. It should be taught in schools.

The progress from a total to a restricted monarchy, and from a restricted monarchy to democracy, is a progress toward real respect for the individual. However, is democracy, as we know it, the last possible improvement of governing?

I wonder what he'd say if he saw what we define as democracy today...
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، در زمینۀ «نافرمانی مدنی» این کتابِ 55 صفحه ای را انتخاب نمودم، تا شما بزرگواران را با مفهوم آن آشنا سازم
تعبيرِ «نافرمانی مدنی» برایِ اولين بار در قرنِ نوزدهم، در آمریکا، از سویِ همین نویسنده «هنری ديويد ثرو» ابداع و بکار برده شد
عزیزانم، «نافرمانی مدنی» مفهومی پيچيده و چند سويه در فرهنگ سياسی غرب میباشد... اقدامی با انگيزۀ سياسی و اخلاقی، علنی و مسالمت آميز برایِ اعتراض نسبت به رفتارِ قوایِ دولتی، كه حداقل از منظرِ چگونگی امر، نقض قانون مشخصی را به همراه دارد
نویسنده بارها و بارها
...more
Dany Burns
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
This is a very interesting read. Though the language can seem a bit old and hard to get through and understand the message is important and rings out loud and clear. Many people are content to sit around and wait for the right thing to happen but in order for the right the to happen there must be action. If laws are unjust it is your duty to break those laws. So many people forget the actions of the founders of the US were treasonous. Sometime the only way to stand up for what is right is to wor ...more
Rachel
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I'm still pondering what I think about this essay, so I'm not quite sure what I'd like to say about it yet. It is different than what I expected. I always thought of Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" as the work that inspired non-violent protests like 1960s sit-ins and Ghandi's hunger strikes--and it IS an inspiration, but it is not about those types of actions, as far as I can tell.

Thoreau, rather, suggests that people should just withdraw from an unjust government (and this, to Thoreau inc
...more
Luís C.
Civil Desobedience

Henry David Thoreau wrote the essay Civil Disobedience to show his opposition to slavery and American imperialism. His essay has influenced many prominent civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thoreau's essay Civil Disobedience or Resistance to Civil Government, published in 1849, is a call to arms similar to the stances that people like Parks and King would later take. Thoreau argued that people owed it to themselves and their fellow man not to blindly f
...more
Paula W
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure how to review this. Something to come tomorrow maybe after I think about it for a bit.
Riku Sayuj
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Was a wonderful experience to read it in parallel with The Prince.
James
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would love to have met this man in person. What a brilliant wit and iron nerve to say what he did, when he did, and how he did, to whom he did. For the contemporary patriot who doesn't quite know where he stands, this work will test his devotion, and force an analysis of his political thinking.
Belhor
Apr 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I might have liked this book ten years ago. Now it's just too basic. The ideas represented here seem so obvious, if of course, you believe what Thoreau says is the right way to do things. I don't believe his theory of individual civil disobedience would actually work in today's world.
What is more is that the book is written in such a dry manner that it almost takes all the joy out of reading it.
I'll never understand how this book got so many 5 star reviews.
David Sarkies
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
War and Taxes
9 November 2017

It has taken me a few days to actually get around to writing a review on this treatise, not because I haven't wanted to but rather because life has somehow managed to get in the way, and also because I have been more interested in doing my calculus and basic computer programming (if one can consider HTML and CSS to be programming, not that I'm all that good with CSS, but it's good to know). Anyway, while I technically should be in bed now I think I'll just write this
...more
Beatrice Santos
A Desobediência Civil é um manifesto semi-anárquico de alguém que há muito perdeu a fé e a consideração que tinha pelo Estado e o Governo. A aversão é tanta que Thoreau diz que devemos todos combatê-lo numa forma activa, deixando de pagar impostos, mesmo que isso signifique a cadeia, e condena aqueles que, com preocupações como família e estabilidade, se deixam ir numa letargia em relação à justiça.

O autor defende ainda que se for preciso, devemos tomar uma atitude eremita. "Temos de viver so
...more
Jerry Jose
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?"

Even at the known risk of getting branded as a boring old uncle, I must admit into finding Thoreau's venerated essay fascinatingly metal. I was introduced into this venerated magnum opus by Mahatma Gandhi ,who during his non-violence movement, has undoubtedly elevated the duty of Civil Disobedience from individual consciousness to the ethics of a collective. (also freely available on inte
...more
Martha Sweeney
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Needed a break from editing and read Civil Disobedience for the first time. Loved it. It's a key piece of literature that I think everyone should read, not just in America, but all over the world concerning everything that is occurring in governments all across the world.

Peace - Love - Prosperity - Happiness to You and Everyone
Alberto
Five stars for the importance of the topic Thoreau discusses; one star because his answer is absurdly wrong (and simplistic).

I know that this is supposed to be a classic, and even Gandhi cited it as inspiration.  My opinion is, unfortunately, quite different.  Civil Disobedience amounts to a tract in favor of anarchism.  Some choice quotes...
That government is best which governs not at all.

[The state's] very Constitution is the evil.

Beyond the high-flying rhetoric, let's look at his more reasone
...more
Ichigotta
Emprisonné pour cause de non paiement de taxes, le philosophe Thoreau Henry David étaye dans ce petit essaie les causes qui l'y ont en poussé. On saura donc que c'est pour ne pas être complice des actes esclavagistes et belliqueux de son pays que celui-ci a pris parti de la désobéissance civile qui n'est autre qu'une forme de résistance.

Suivant la même lignée que Discours de la servitude volontaire: Contr'un de Étienne de La Boétie, cet essaie remet en cause le pouvoir qu'ont les gouvernements s
...more
Paras2
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
well this was basically a guide on how to stand up for what you believe even if that means going to jail for it. tho it was a practical side of Emerson's ideas, I preferred Emerson. his language was more pleasant.
A.D. Crystal
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YES. WORTH READING!
Well, one may agree or disagree with Thoreau's views on the State and the government role in society.
One cannot, though, not pay tribute to his extraordinarily sharpened awareness of the call for submission the institutions of the State and the government exercise to the citizens of a country.
I do not know of many a wo/men who make such conscientious efforts of getting to the marrow of one of the most essential relationships holding modern human beings together and most defini
...more
Kathleen
“What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”

This seemed an appropriate time to read this daring essay about Thoreau’s disagreement with the actions of the government, and his belief that the majority is not always right. I understand why this inspired Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. It sets out a simple, straight-forward argument for not going along with your government when it acts egregiously.

“Action from principle, the perceptio
...more
Vale
Sono nato troppo in alto per essere posseduto,
per essere il secondo, al controllo,
o l'utile servo e strumento
di qualsiasi stato sovrano del mondo.


L'idea del potere reale di un Governo è la più grande fandonia messa in atto dall'umanità. Purtroppo Thoreau è un genio ed è quindi destinato ad una visione del mondo troppo complicata per i suoi contemporanei e troppo moderna per la nostra contemporaneità.

Se quest'anno un migliaio di persone non pagassero le tasse non si tratterebbe di un'azione viol
...more
Mohammad Ali
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: سیاست
متن خود نافرمانی مدنی و همچنین افزوده های این جزوه ی الکترونیکی بسیار جالب و جذاب بودند. البته برای من بیشتر از نفس این اثر و رویکردهاش، زندگی شخص ثورو و عملکردهاش جالب و گیرا بودند. باید اذعان کرد که افزوده ها واقعا بجا و مناسبند.

در مورد ترجمه باید متاسفانه اذعان کرد که ترجمه ی اصل مقاله ی نافرمانی مدنی متوسط و گاهی زیر متوسط است - البته اصل مقاله هم ابهاماتی دارد و من چند جایی که به آن مراجعه کردم مشکلی برایم حل نشد و جملات گرچه به نحو لغوی فهم می شدند اما منظور نویسنده گنگ باقی می ماند. در مو
...more
Jacq Jardin
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think I would enjoy reading this. I did, though, and I'm sure glad I picked it up. Written in a very articulate manner, the paper is enjoyable, convincing, inspiring and stimulating all at once. Thoreau's strong moral convictions and high respect for the individual are evident in each line. Some of my favorites are:

"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."

"The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to
...more
Sheila
Interesting, but it didn't engross me in the way I hoped it would. The only passage I highlighted was "There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor, which even would not think it ...more
Denise
Nothing new under the sun. As good a read when first published as today.

Not saying Mr. Thoreau has all the answers or even the best kind of answers. In today's political climate, it is important to stretch back to those who "been there, done that." Thoreau influenced many greats such as Martin Luther King Jr.
Phillip
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thoreau
This is good to read during a divisive election year.
Chris
Sep 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
(This is a long post which can also be found here: http://publiusnapkin.wordpress.com/20...)

I had meant to read up on Thoreau for quite some time now, and took the opportunity yesterday to read the Project Gutenberg text of Civil Disobedience on my Kindle. I found the essay well-conceived, enjoyable, and dripping with an arrogance that only comes with a supreme confidence in one’s intellect, moral standing, and social status. That said, while I was impressed by Thoreau’s well-articulated respect
...more
Lydia
“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; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing.”

Reading this is worth it, purely for some of the quotations alone. Startlingly relevant and a call to arms, Thoreau asks us to question what is legal (or written as law) vs. what is right, and if they are the sa
...more
Ingrid Ojeda
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me fue muy afortunado hacer ésta lectura en momentos como el que atraviesa Paraguay. Thoreau Nos habla de la "Desobediencia civil" en su forma pacífica, aclarando que esta forma de protesta es efectiva sólo en un estado con instituciones confiables. También reflexiona sobre el papel del ciudadano ante las injusticias y sobre lo apático que puede ser "pensar y no hacer". Escribió este ensayo en una época en que divergía con su estado de gobierno en dos cuestiones principales : esclavitud e invasi ...more
Jeske
Very powerful essay that has influenced people like MLK jr and Gandhi. Still very relevant today..
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Highlights 1 4 May 26, 2017 08:59AM  
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Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

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“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” 940 likes
“Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.” 214 likes
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