(Editor’s Note: This is a college essay I finished in 2005. It’s one of the best papers I’ve ever written and it’s about one of my favorite figures in American History. I hope you get something from it.)
In many ways, Henry David Thoreau has been seen as the darling of American pacifists and peace activists. Thoreau has certainly given contemporary nonviolence activists reason to praise him. After all, he did write “Civil Disobedience,” the clearest articulation of the purpose of and logic behind nonviolent resistance. Although an American classic, “Civil Disobedience” is perhaps more famous for being Gandhi’s guide to nonviolent resistance.1 Despite the laurels bestowed upon him by non-violent resisters, Thoreau was much more concerned with establishing a truly just government than limiting the means by which he was willing to achieve that end.