The historical and literary context of Henry David Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience'. Lee, Leon en_US
dc.contributor.department English en_US 2014-06-20T16:23:56Z 2014-06-20T16:23:56Z 1990 en_US
dc.description.abstract While a few studies have attempted to place Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" in a historical and literary context, there is no book-length study of that context. Heretofore, studies have connected Thoreau to the idealism of classical Greece; to the eighteenth-century rationalists and utilitarians, including William Paley's The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy; to the romantic rebels of the eighteenth century, Rousseau and Godwin; to the native tradition of anarchism; to the frontier; to the laissez-faire economics of the nineteenth-century America; to Unitarianism; to the moral idealism, perfectionism, and utopianism of Thoreau's age; to abolitionism and non-resistance; and to Ralph Waldo Emerson. en_US
dc.description.abstract The present study summarizes and supplements those attempts. It gathers the pertinent facts of Thoreau's political activism: his signing off from the church; his refusal to pay the poll tax; the arrest and jailing as a result of that refusal; and the circumstances of the composition of the essay, its delivery as an essay, and its publication in 1849. It creates a literary context for the essay from Thoreau's earlier writing on politics and resistance; Coleridge's The Friend, The Statesman's Manual, and Aids to Reflection; the political essays of Orestes Brownson; William Paley's The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy; and the political essays of Emerson. en_US
dc.description.abstract The study shows that Thoreau's political activism and the ideas of "Civil Disobedience" are derivative. The indictment of government for its reliance on expediency, its use of force, and its failure to recognize the moral imperatives of the conscience; the faculty psychology; the Lockean contract theory of government; the dangers of majority rule; the recommendation of non-voting, refusal to pay taxes, going to jail, and resignation from office as means of protest; no-governmentism; and the categorical imperative to obey the conscience absolutely when its demands came into conflict with those of the State--all can be found in the literature of the past and of Thoreau's day. en_US D.A. en_US
dc.publisher Middle Tennessee State University en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862 Criticism and interpretation en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Literature, American en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Political Science, General en_US
dc.thesis.degreegrantor Middle Tennessee State University en_US
dc.thesis.degreelevel Doctoral en_US
dc.title The historical and literary context of Henry David Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience'. en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
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