Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Rating: 7/10

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High-Level Thoughts

Important piece of political philosophy, though I found it a little dull to get through. Might be relevant in the current (2016) political climate…

Summary Notes

“Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”

“Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.”

“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?”

“Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”

“For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done for ever.”

“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”

“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.”

“There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”

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