Personal Response to “On Civil Disobedience”

I thought that Thoreau’s passion about the end to slavery and the war against Mexico was very evidently sincere. It would seem that not only was Thoreau an early abolitionist, but also an early anarchist (and early socialist from the argument he makes later when he demands a better government before no government). I also found Thoreau’s passion very bold. He mentions early on the “wooden gun”. Considering that the gun is a symbol of the American citizens to overthrow tyranny, it is certainly a very bold metaphor that says a lot about what he thinks about the American government at that time. This feeling is also evident when he mentions the “cloth-o’-silver slut” which I believe to be the America that will tolerate the slave trade: Though she is well off, for her cloth is of silver, her soul is dragging in the dirt. Thoreau not only finds what they are doing wrong, but despicable, dirty and gut-wrenchingly foul. Despite this, I see little concern except for that of the inaction of those that believe similar to him.

I found it initially odd, the idea of acting as one on the electoral roll, but outside of the majority. The black and white morality (as today it is assumed), makes it seem right. I am of course not American, but I neve thought about American revolt in this way; I see the American’s right to bear arms against tyranny to be optional. Thoreau sees it as an obligation.


Furthermore, my mind was blown just after the first half of the essay’s first paragraph. I had to close the book and breathe deeply: I’m not joking or exaggerating. I said in class that I’d give this book an 8/10, but the more I think about it, the higher the rating gets.