Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government”

Hello everyone. I hope everyone is well and that you enjoyed the readings this semester. This will be your final paper of the semester, and will make up the final 25% of your overall grade. I hope that you enjoyed reading “Civil Disobedience” and “A Plea for Captain John Brown,” and I hope that you were able to do a bit of research about the happenings that made Thoreau write the John Brown essay.

In a paper (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1″ margins all around), I want you to write a paper that discusses the changes of philosophy that Thoreau went through between the time he wrote “Resistance to Civil Government” (“Civil Disobedience”) and “A Plea for Captain John Brown.” As you know, the former essay is contextualized around passivity while the latter essay is contextualized around aggression (In “John Brown” Thoreau, some have said, argues for the morality of murder). Why, in your opinion, did Thoreau go through such a dramatic change? Use both of these essays to help argue your point(s), and discuss the specifics of both–that is, did the happenings in the first essay deserve passivity, and did the happenings in the second essay deserve aggression? Why? What was happing in America that made Thoreau act as the social activist in these specific, and differing ways?

Be very, very specific. The more specific and detailed the better.

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