It is simple to say that Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Civil
Disobedience,” influenced two of the most well known political figures of
the past hundred years, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King.It might
be less easy to connect Thoreau’s ideas with those of more flamboyant€"and
one might also propose less wildly successful€"political reformers such as
Philip Berrigan.Yet that connection can be made, and moreover, it can be
made in a way few students of Thoreau might have considered.

Perhaps few
commentators on the lives and work of Gandhi, King and Berrigan would have
thought of it either.And yet, in the post-feminist age, the age of a new
masculinism,’ Thoreau can be proposed as the intellectual forebear of a
new masculinism,’ one that forswears guns and violence in favor of passive
resistance of the sort carried out by Gandhi, King and Berrigan.
Interestingly, Thoreau was one of a group of New England
transcendentalists that included Emerson and the Alcott family, whose
daughter Louisa May, produced the well loved but rarely critiqued Little
Women.Also included in the group were novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and
poet Walt Whitman, as well as abolitionist Frederick Douglass.It was the
underlying principles of this group, the commonality that held them
together, that influenced Thoreau in all his writings, and perhaps
especially in “Civil Disobedience,” which arose specifically because
Thoreau had had the opportunity to put the principles into practice after
refusing to pay the poll tax.The principles themselves were developed by
well-educated people, such as Emerson, who was a Harvard graduate, and had
begun to read Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, basically unknown in the
United States until then.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer

Proficient in: Culture

5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The transcendentalists, informed by these
eastern influences, began to develop the idea of a loving God (contrary to
the fire-and-brimstone …

Cite this page

Civil Disobedience. (2019, May 07). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7