Over the course of time, not much has changed when talking about the United States government. Like the American government was criticized in the 1500’s, the same government receives the same criticism over one hundred years later. The main difference between the criticism back then and the criticism now has to do with respect. Thoreau’s criticism is well thought out and educated, unlike in modern times, where everyone gives their opinion regardless if they know anything about that situation or not. Every single decision that the government makes has been, is, and will always be criticized by the United States’ citizens.
Thoreau acts like a gentleman in his criticism probably because he knows his opinion stands a better chance of being heard when he acts respectfully compared to when he acts disrespectfully. In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau is trying to tell the government officials that they need to be more respectful and considerate towards the citizens. When the government is forced to make a decision, they know that they cannot please everyone, and that there will be people that disagree with the decision that the government has made.
In reality, there will never be a day where both the people and the government are able to decide and fully agree on a topic, but if the government respects and considers all angles when making a decision, there is more of a possibility that the people may eventually support the government with their decision, not act spitefully towards the government, and be more considerate towards the government when making future decisions. This passage shows the difference in the maturity levels of people today people like Henry David Thoreau.
This passage is a very powerful one because Thoreau does not badger the government. Instead of saying that the government should change one thing into another thing he suggests that the government should re-evaluate something that needs change, and asks the government officials to take other viewpoints into consideration. In modern times, people have shown how uneducated are by having the audacity to say things like our country would be better off without a government.
When people make statements like this, or take a similar approach towards a topic, they show how truly uneducated they are. Without a government, our country would be in complete havoc and turmoil. The mindsets of people in the 1500’s were completely different to the mindsets of people now. In today’s world, people have become accustomed to a society that is filled with drama and sarcasm. Because of this, people are constantly ridiculed and have learned to ignore the opinions of others.
In the 1500’s the people wouldn’t make unrealistic statements because they didn’t want their opinion being made a joke, and would feel both humiliated and embarrassed if they were ridiculed by their peers. This passage is significant to Civil Disobedience because Thoreau suggests that the government should act more respectfully towards the citizens. The government forces people away when they offend a particular group of people. Generally when people feel disrespected, they become either angry or upset and are more prone to acting in a spiteful manner towards the government.
In this case, many of these people just wouldn’t listen to what the government decided, and instead do the opposite. When the government is stating a decision, they should be both thorough and careful in their delivery of the decision knowing that not everyone is going to be happy or agree with what was decided. Instead of making criticisms or taking a disrespectful tone towards the government and its officials, Thoreau separates himself from the others, by acting respectfully and being rational.