Thoreau in Civil Disobedience points out to the reader that many people, who claim they’re against something are actually indirectly supporting it. On page 231 Thoreau claims that ‘ ‘There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, yet who in fact in effect do nothing to put an end to them’ This statement seem to be a wake up call to the audience, it seems to be trying to prompt the people into direct action against slavery and the war, making them feel guilt through the claim that by doing nothing they are indirectly encouraging the continuation of slavery and wars, this statement seems to challenge the audience to prove Thoreau wrong.
This is further supported on page 233 when Thoreau gives an example of his previous allegation when he claims that he heard some of his townsmen say ‘ I should like to have them order me out to help put down a insurrection of slaves, or to march to mexico;-see if I would go’ This shows that the townsmen are against the idea of slavery and marching to war in Mexico. Thoreau suggests that unknowingly the townsmen have been ‘directly by their allegiance and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute’ This suggests that Thoreau seems to think that the people aren’t even aware that through doing what is right e.g. paying their taxes, they are going against their own morals and beliefs against war and slavery. Thoreau seems to be trying to warn them that through seemingly good acts they are indirectly causing major damage to the efforts to support their beliefs.