Civil Disobedience Quotes

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Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
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Civil Disobedience Quotes Showing 1-30 of 95
“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
“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.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
“All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or back gammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obli­gation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
“Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“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.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“The rich man is always sold to the institution which makes him rich.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It 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.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“A common and natural result of an undue respect of law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Your church is a baby-house made of blocks.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
“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, if any such is possible.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know how much truth is stronger than errors, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“How can a man be satisfied to entertain an opinion merely, and enjoy it?”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free-trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufacturers and agriculture.

Nuestros legisladores no han aprendido todavía el valor comparativo del libre cambio y la libertad, la unión y la rectitud hacia la nación. No tienen genio ni talento para hacerse preguntas humildes sobre impuestos y finanzas, comercio, manufactura y agricultura.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
“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”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government?”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“the state never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“A lawyer's truth is not Truth. It is consistency, or consistent expediency”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others--as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders--serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions,”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

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