What exactly falls under civil disobedience? Is it breaking the law, is it fighting for justice, or is it the right of a citizen to the freedom of speech? Generally, it is explained as a non-violent rebellion against some of the government’s policies that seem to be unfair. In the essay “Civil Disobedience,” author Henry David Thoreau states that a government rarely proves itself useful, as it is often backed up by the majority instead of following what is truly right. He does not want a government-free society, but rather a country that supports the policies that are created based on justice. Agreeing with Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience, the majority is not always in the right. Each man should do what he thinks is right and protest when he sees something unjust.
Thoreau followed his conscience and showed the American people that we all should have a voice on political matters, which is an indication of Thoreau’s ideas respecting individualism, as the American people struggle to let their voices be heard. Thoreau believed that every citizen needs the ability to express his own opinion, which is independent of that of the majority and to think about whether the government is doing the right thing before following its policies. He thought that people who only follow the government’s dictation without a second thought.
The government acts rightfully to the majority even if it is wrong; therefore, civil disobedience is good because it makes a person ultimately responsible to him alone, and not as a majority society or government. People are responsible for the injustice in which they participate, and they should have the right to do what they think is right. Therefore, being apart of an unjust institution or nation makes a person a partner of injustice. If a person supports the unfair government in any way, by maybe simply respecting its authority as a government, then that person is involved in the injustice made by the government.
The main goal of civil disobedience is not to weaken democracy. But aim to strengthen its core values of liberty and respect for the individual. The only way a country could be truly free is through civil disobedience, with each citizen having their own right and responsibility to voice their concerns in the name of justice. Thoreau’s ideas on civil disobedience are a reminder that it is important to respect every voice even when it is small because the majority does not equal rightness. Therefore, each man should respect his own opinion and not only do what he considers right but also protest that which he considers unjust. Civil disobedience is every man’s moral responsibility.