Resistance to Civil Government Thoreau
1 “That government is best that governs least” the opening remarks showcase his feelings about the government he believes that they should be out of his life.
2 “it does not keep the country free it does not settle the West it does not educate our children” here he is saying that the government is responsible for nothing that we ourselves keep the country free, settle the West and educate our children.
3 “we should be men first and subjects afterward” here he is saying that everyone should do with their own conscience should let them get away with nothing more nothing less and the government can’t tell you what the right thing is to do.
4” there will never really be a free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power from which all of its own power is derived” he went to jail for one night for not paying a poll tax he believes he has the right to abstain from paying a tax he does not believe in because it supports slavery and he doesn’t support slavery so he has every right not to pay
5 “he got his board for nothing and felt he was well treated” this is him speaking about his cellmate for the night who burn down the barn.
6 “a change to my eyes had come over the scene” he reflected after he left the prison that things had changed his mind he was more angry than happy that somebody had paid his tax bill for him.
7 “that their friendship was for summer weather only” here he is talking about the Fairweather friends another turn of phrase that I guess he invented where he is actually saying that people in town only good tea when things are good and when things are bad they are long gone.
8 “I believe that most of them are not aware that they have such institutions as a jail in their village” he believes most people are oblivious to the fact that jail even exist in town because they don’t pay it any attention until they have to actually go there like he did and that they knew it was there and how people were treated then maybe they would look at things different.
What questions came up? I wonder if Thoreau have children that went to school or a horse that walked on a road or used any of the government facilities that tax money paid for. I think he just is upon the pay a tax bill and he came up with the comedian excuse against slavery but the real truth is he didn’t have the money to pay it so he feels he shouldn’t have to pay it and we should somehow respect him for it.
What’s the main idea? The main idea concerns civil disobedience which was used much later in history to and all kinds of horrible things that have been happening in the world like slavery and working for equal rights for African-Americans and women that in this early time civil disobedience was not paying a tax because he was against slavery in the South.