by Henry David Thoreau -
While Walden can be applied to almost anyone's life, Henry Thoreau's
Disobedience is like a venerated architectural landmark -- it is preserved
and admired, and occasionally visited, but for most of us there are not
many occasions when it can actually be used. Still, while seldom
mentioned without the obligatory reference to Gandhi and King,
Disobedience has more history than many suspect. In occupied Denmark
in the 1940's it was read by the Danish resistance, in the 1950's it was
cherished by people who opposed McCarthyism, in the 1960's it was influential
in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and in the 1970's it
was discovered by a new generation of anti-war activists. The lesson learned
from all this experience is that Thoreau's ideas really do work, just as
he imagined they would.
Thoreau's Civil Disobedience
in two parts: Part 1 - Part
(Originally published as "Resistance
to Civil Government")
Civil Disobedience originated as a Concord Lyceum lecture delivered
by Henry on January 26, 1848. It was first published in May of 1849, in
Papers, a short-lived periodical that never managed a second issue.
The modern title comes from Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and
Reform Papers, an 1866 collection of Thoreau's work.