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Civil Disobedience (Reprint) (Paperback) (Henry David Thoreau)
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In 1848 and again in 1849, Henry David Thoreau delivered a lecture in Concord, Massachusetts on “the relationship of the individual to the state.” The essay now known as Civil Disobedience is a significant and widely admired contribution to abolitionist literature, as well as an anti-war tract, but Thoreau’s focus is less on political organization and solidarity than it is on personal choice and individual responsibility. Cultivating personal integrity in the face of political injustice is the project Thoreau defends in Civil Disobedience; this focus has made the work highly influential to 20th- and 21st-century political movements.
Robert Pepperman Taylor’s new Introduction explains the work’s specific political context, helping readers to understand the text as Thoreau wrote it. The edition also offers a number of historical documents on Thoreau’s abolitionism; the United States’ war with Mexico; and Thoreau’s philosophical development in relation to other thinkers.