Resistance to Civil Government
Read “Civil Disobedience” and “A Plea for Captain John Brown,” and do research about the happenings that made Thoreau write the John Brown essay.
In a 5 page (minimum) paper, write a paper that discusses the changes of philosophy that Thoreau went through between the time he wrote “Resistance to Civil Government” (“Civil Disobedience”) and “A Plea for Captain John Brown.” As you know, the former essay is contextualized around passivity while the latter essay is contextualized around aggression (In “John Brown” Thoreau, some have said, argues for the morality of murder).
Why, in your opinion, did Thoreau go through such a dramatic change? Use both of these essays to help argue your point(s), and discuss the specifics of both–that is, did the happenings in the first essay (Resistance to civil Government) deserve passivity, and did the happenings in the second essay (A Plea For Captain John Brown) deserve aggression? Why? What was happing in America that made Thoreau act as the social activist in these specific, and differing ways?