This essay by Thoreau first published in 1849, argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule their consciences. It goes on to say that individuals have a duty to avoid allowing the government to make them the agents of injustice. The quote: "That government is best which governs least," sometimes attributed to Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, actually was first found in this essay. Thoreaus' thoughts were motivated by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War but they are still relevant and resonate today.
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I wanted to listen to this because I have recently read the most dangerous man in America about David Ellsberg and the Pentagon papers; however I found the book slightly boring little bit on the whining side about politics and government and the way the people are. So I really didn't see that it really added much to my understanding however the underlying theme here is; to say something if you think you're right an you know something is wrong get it out in the open and that's what David Elsberg did and as a Vietnam Veteran I'm glad he did.
Can the thoughts of 1849 be applied in the 21st-century?
- Larry Bassett