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I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
MTC
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 3:18:31 AM
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And yet he found time to load the shelves of a small library with twenty volumes of articles, essays, aphorisms, journals, and poetry in an effort "to make the world a good place to live in." That was his life. Also, I wonder what choice he had about "com(ing) into this world," much less for a specific purpose.
capitán
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 12:49:54 PM

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Daemon wrote:
I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Thoreau was not happy about the government of his time waging war against Mexico and the acceptance of slavery in the south. According to Civil Disobedience, he did not think these two could be amended simply by democratic voting, which only reflects the opinion of a majority (and we know that the opinion of the majority is seldom right) and never takes into account a individual's own conscience. However, he didn't come up with a proposal to ameliorate society. In other words, when jailed because of his refusal to pay the poll tax, I think, he did not want to make the world a better place; he simply did not want to be another man who does wrongs.

However, the idea of Thoreau's peaceable revolution is a personal action that could end in political action because one person is considered a human being and not just a mere citizen who accepts the will of the majority.

"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.… where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,– the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.… Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible."

Thoreau's writings have inspired several people throughout history and have certainly changed the world.
Verbatim
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 3:38:58 PM
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Daemon wrote:
I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


This brief passage from Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" (1849) illustrates his impatience with the State of Massachusetts' lack of formal action to abolish slavery, by State Law.
Thoreau wrote another essay, "Slavery in Massachusetts" in 1854 after a speech he gave at an anti-slavery rally at Framingham, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1854.
He did not live to see The Thirteenth Amendment (1865) to the US Constitution ratified by the State of Massachusetts.

In fairness to the people of Massachusetts, anti-slavery actions had been in existence since before 1832 when the Anti-Slavery Society of New England was formed in Boston.
And there was the Underground Railroad with key stops in Boston's fashionable Beacon Hill which helped many African Americans gain freedom from the slavery in the South.

As well, although the State was slow to formally abolish slavery, the courts had been more progressive since 1783 when in "the Quock Walker case" before Chief Justice W. Cushing
the instructions he gave the jury set forth, perhaps in passing, that actually slavery can be construed incompatible with the State's (deficient?) Constitution of 1780 which held
that "all men are born free and equal, and have ... the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberty." see: http://www.slavenorth.com/massemancip.htm

Disclosure: I am a great fan of Boston and its contribution to American freedom, notwithstanding some inconsistencies along the way.




Bully_rus
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 2:39:50 AM
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Every disobedient child needs to have caring parents, otherwise it might be problem for both of them. Thoreau was very lucky with its "parents".
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