Henry David Thoreau

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Henry David Thoreau

Maxham daguerreotype of Henry David Thoreau made in 1856.
Full name Henry David Thoreau
Era 19th century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Transcendentalism
Main interests Natural history
Notable ideas Abolitionism, tax resistance, development criticism, civil disobedience, conscientious objection, direct action, environmentalism, nonviolent resistance, simple living

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817– May 6, 1862)[1] was an American author, naturalist and philosopher. His friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson had a great impact on him. Ralph Waldo Emerson supported him in many ways. Emerson provided a place for Thoreau to live which inspired on his work, Walden Pond.[2] He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. 

His Influence On American Society[change | change source]

Henry David Thoreau became successful because Ralph Waldo Emerson helped Thoreau spread his work in England. Thoreau's ideas were about nature. He was heavily influenced by the writer Emerson, who also introduced him to transcendentalism. He set an example by doing things that inspired people during his lifetime. He is someone who didn’t follow normal social rules .His ideas made him stand out during that time. He also had concerns about the environment and helped to build a canal. [3]

Protest Against The Government[change | change source]

As the government needed money for the Mexican-American War, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay a direct tax for the war. Therefore, his started to protest against the government. He thought war was a bad thing, so it was necessary to resist government.  That led to him being put into jail. Although people gave him advice to pay the tax, he still didn't pay it. He didn't fear the government and at the same time inspired other people to join this protest. The night in the jail allowed him to start to write his essay, "Civil Disobedience."[4]

Background Information During 1846-1860[change | change source]

The background in 1846-1860, he wrote Civil Disobedience is anti-slavery, and the Mexican American war. The argument between North and South is South are pro slavery and the North is anti-slavery. During that time, the government tried to compromise with the South. So they passed the Fugitive Slave Act to catch the slave and send back to the South. Later, the Civil War started. The South and North split apart, this was the most serious war in the history of the United States.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Biography of Henry David Thoreau, American Poems (2000-2007 Gunnar Bengtsson).
  2. "Henry David Thoreau Biography". http://www.biography.com/people/henry-david-thoreau-9506784.
  3. "Meet Thoreau: Henry's Global Impact". World Wide Waldens.org. The Walden Woods Project. 2011. http://www.worldwidewaldens.org/meet-thoreau-5-impact/. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 McElroy, Wendy (2005). "Henry Thoreau and 'Civil Disobedience'". The Thoreau Reader. Iowa State University. http://thoreau.eserver.org/wendy.html.