“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”


I think this quote is just asking what do you do when a law is obviously not morally right? Would you obey it just because its the law or would you try to change it and obey it until it is changed, or would you just disobey it completely since it doesn’t fit your moral code? Henry David Thoreau wrote this quote in Resistance to Civil Government.

I think this quote was important at the time Thoreau wrote it because many people thought the government was corrupt. Many people thought that the government had evil within it and that if they supported the laws that were unjust then they were supporting evil. They wanted to abolish the laws they thought were not right and unjust. Many people today feel the same way I think. There are so many people standing up for the rights of themselves and others. People feel like they should have a say in what laws the government should and should not be able to pass. The laws may change but there will always be someone who wants to change it. Thoreau asked if we should just go along with the laws even if we feel they are wrong or should we try to change it. Obviously you can not change every law just because it goes against what someone believes.

“In 1845 Thoreau built himself a house in the woods on land owned by Emerson. The following year he was imprisoned for refusing to pay his poll tax. His opposition to the Mexican War resulted in the influential essay, Civil Disobedience (1849). Thoreau’s argument that it was morally justified to peacefully resist unjust laws inspired Americans involved in the struggle against slavery and the fight for trade union rights and women’s suffrage.”


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