George Washington Thoreau Cultivate a Respect for The Law Discussion Questions

Question Description

Please answer Thoreau questions in one paragraph , and answer the application in another paragraph. Please use only the assigned reading. You dont have to cite.

Thoreau Questions

Thoreau states that America should not seek to “cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”

First, explain either:

  • one group of people who “serve the State […] not as men […] but as machines”, or
  • one group of people “who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them”.

Second, explain
what Thoreau thinks our duty is, what our duty is not, as well as one
example that he gives of living up to or failing to live up that duty.

Third, explain one (1) of the objections that Thoreau says are often made against his theory, as well as how Thoreau refutes that objection.

Fourth, argue that Thoreau’s refutation is correct or incorrect, and why or why not.

Thoreau Application

First, identify a contemporary social or political event that you will apply Thoreau’s theory to.

Second, explain how one group or individual involved in that event is either:

  • serving the state as a machine, or
  • in effect doing nothing

Third, hypothesize what Thoreau might say is the duty of that group or individual, and why.

Fourth, apply the objection to Thoreau that you previously explained to this event, and critique that objection using Thoreau’s own logic.

Reading assignment

“On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”

Prof. Angela


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