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Applications of Thoreau's Philosophy Against the Rule of Law
Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient." This philosophy may seem strange to current ears and eyes, given the current media stress upon American patriotism and loyalty. However, Thoreau believed that even the laws of a free society and government such as the United State's should not be reified to such an extent that they were obeyed unquestioningly, subverting the very reasons that those laws were put into place.
Decisions and actions, in contrast, should be more defined by the internal moral compass of the individual, rather than upon the letter. In case this seems to radical a prescription for a society to follow, it is sobering to reflect upon our own nation's legal and political, as well as social history, in light of the legacy of slavery…… [Read More]
Thoreau is thinking that reality as truly seen is forever new and more than words can say. So what do you think? Do we need contemplation or something like it in order to better understand who we are? Or should we be satisfied with Zweckrationalist (eber) and go about setting and achieving measurable objectives in a calculable world?
Henry David Thoreau was many things, philosopher, existentialist, and pioneer of the environmental movement. A constant theme is his many writings is his belief that everyone was responsible for going out into the world, into the natural world, and finding their true identity through this interaction. He believed that no one could be an authentic version of their self until they made this external version of an internal struggle. In the piece "here I Lived, and hat I Lived For," Thoreau discusses his venture into the natural world to find…… [Read More]
This speaks quite clearly to the different attitudes the two authors had about what to do with this hypocritical, greedy, and foolish society. Thoreau argues for revolution in a way that Twain almost certainly would have avoided. Instead, Twain's protagonist Huck says that the best way to deal with direct violence and injustice from people like Pap "is to let them have their own way." To Thoreau, acceptance of such injustice was the same as performing the injustice. For Twian, society is to late to be saved; remembering that he wrote his book over a decade after the close of the Civik War and the end of slavery suggests that Twain saw his society as basically unchanged by this major event. Rather than changing society, Huck (and presumably Twain's) solution is simply to leave it behind.
This fundamental difference between the two author's views on the irrationalities, absurdities, and injustices…… [Read More]
Plato, Martin Luther King and Henry David Thoreau each had widely differing ideals relating to the government, its necessity and the responsibility of citizens towards this government. These views were all closely related to each philosopher's personal ideals regarding how best to live their lives with the greatest of integrity. This also applies to life and politics today. Each individual is free to decide whether to take civil action against their government or not. As Martin Luther King asserts, it is a matter of conscience. Each philosophy mentioned above will then be examined for its applicability to the issue of the war in Iraq and the responsibility of citizens to take action.
Plato's work focuses on the philosopher Socrates, who has been condemned to death for "corrupting the youth" of Athens. Crito attempts to encourage his escape, but Aristotle refuses, on the grounds of his own personal set of ethics.…… [Read More]
Resistance to Civil Government, or Civil Disobedience," with these words:
heartily accept the motto, -- 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe -- 'That government is best which governs not at all'; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient."
While Thoreau is talking about a minimalist kind of government that intrudes as little as possible into the individual's life, the words are almost anarchistic, and it strikes me that what Thoreau is really demonstrating is one of the most remarkable things about the United States: near total freedom of speech. When it comes to Thoreau's vision…… [Read More]
American History, And Political Theory
The role of morals and religious values in a nation's economic activity.
In our nation, the current politically correct cry is to separate moral issues from the public arena. The affairs of church and state should be forever separated. The associated corollary, one which is likely not spoken but clearly assumed by those who propagate the separation doctrine is that religious thoughts, morals, and ethics should also not be present in the market place. The assumption is that moral reasoning is only a bigoted and discriminatory belief system which seeks separate people, and is therefore harmful to the harmonious development of a nation.
However, this atheistic belief system was neither supported nor taught by those who built the context of our national heritage. Those who came to this country were devoted sojourners from many different faiths. Most of those who settled in the original colonies…… [Read More]
Thoreau, Stowe, Melville and Douglas: Reflections on Slavery
Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beacher Stowe, Herman Melville and Fredrick Douglass all opposed the intuition of slavery in the United States in the middle of the nineteen century. This matter deeply divided the nation and ultimately led to the Civil ar in 1860. hile southerner's saw the matter as a state's rights issue, abolitions framed the debate from a moral perspective. Most people in the south felt that slaves were their property, and it was for them to decide the moral and religious right of the slavery question. They saw the abolition of slavery as a threat to their very way of life. Abolitionists believed there was no distinction between slavery and liberty, a nation that condoned slavery could not be truly free (Foner). Each of these writers presented their views of slavery in there literary works.
Henry David Thoreau
On…… [Read More]
Thoreau's Resistance To Civil Government
This is a paper discussing the Henry David Thoreau's essay 'Resistance to Civil Government' and arguing that his ideas represent the extreme individualism and anarchist ideology.
The renowned American author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau is considered to be one of the most influential minds in the American thought and literature. Thoreau had not only great influence on American thought but also on the politics of the world, some of his ideas and concepts that he developed were the most original political doctrines devised by American thinker. We appreciate this more, considering the fact that he was an unconventional thinker. At the heart of Thoreau political philosophy was the concept of individualism, he was a supreme individualist and championed the human spirit against materialism and social conformity. His most famous book, "Walden" 1854 is an eloquent account of his experiment in near solitary living in…… [Read More]
The ideal would be for human beings to be free, perfectly free, but this is not possible, Rousseau notes, given that a totally savage and free world means that the strongest person dominates the weaker people around him -- and the strongest will eventually establish a tyranny to serve his own aims, not the needs and rights of others. Locke also believed that a collective society was necessary to protect life, liberty, and property, and so long as ethical individuals enforced the system according to a rule of law, this was superior to a total state of nature. This form of collective protection often subtly threatened freedom, Thoreau believed, in a way that was just as damaging as political oppression, so he left for Walden to isolate himself from all of society.
Thoreau attempted to live an ideal, and to make his life meaningful, not living a slave to conventions…… [Read More]
Thoreau (ethic Studies)
How Thoreau sees the government: His vision of justice
Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience" was written after the Transcendentalist author was imprisoned for refusing to pay his taxes in protest against the Mexican-American War. In his essay, Thoreau demanded that America become once again a truly free government, for the people and by the people. Thoreau believed in minimal government, given that all government leaders tend to set policy based upon their own interests, not true justice. The Founding Fathers had wanted the American government to have relatively little power, to avoid the new nation descending into European-style tyranny. But Thoreau believed that America's new, expansionist policy was an example of the fact that America had forgotten that the government that governs best, governs least (or not at all).
Government should merely exist to serve the people, not its own ends, argues Thoreau. Given this idea, slavery is…… [Read More]
Thoreau Quiet Desperation
Hard ork has always been a virtue in American society, and some say it comes from the country's Puritan heritage. If so, it could explain a great deal about how hard work has become a form of self-imposed slavery. Puritan society was highly judgmental, and society's opinion of a person could become a form of slavery; if one attempts to always fulfill what others expect of them. Henry David Thoreau, in alden, discussed the kind of self-imposed slavery that one can become a victim to when they fall into the trap that society has created.
hen discussing slavery, Thoreau explores a more diverse definition of the word than simply a legal term, he discussed the nature of slavery and its impact upon a person's psyche. According to Thoreau, who wrote alden while slavery was still legal in some places, feels that while what he called "Negro Slavery"…… [Read More]
Nowadays especially the influence of the media has become so invasive and widespread that all people seem to do is just discuss about whatever the media portrays the world as being. I also feel that the media has succeeded in "dumbing down" people's thoughts, so that they do not even bother discussing anymore about politics or current events unless they are forced to. Instead many people today occupy themselves frivolous news surrounding celebrity gossip and entertainment. If people took the initiative towards breaking away from these superficial thoughts in order to start thinking, questioning, and investigating what is really happening with their lives and with the world, it can then be said that we have become the rational thinkers that Thoreau yearned for in society. Then we would no longer be engaged in boring and meaningless gossip and instead we would have the ability to not passively accept what more…… [Read More]
What does this have to do with the rest of paragraph 27?
The individual and the institution of the state cannot flourish when their interests are in competition: one of the 'seeds' must die.
33. In this paragraph, Thoreau talks about how he sees his neighbors in a new light after his night in jail.
After suffering the loss of his liberty, he sees how little his neighbors are willing to risk of their own security to see justice done.
Paraphrase each of these observations:
a. "I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends;"
I saw that the people amongst whom I lived were good in name only -- they spoke about the value of justice, but would not lift a finger to do promote justice.
b. "that their friendship was for summer weather only;"
They did good deeds…… [Read More]
Thoreau was a student of nature for virtually all of his adult life. During Thoreau's life, Cape Cod was a relatively unspoiled area rich with nature and people who worked closely in nature, such as farmers and fishermen. Those who lived on Cape Cod tended to be independent sorts, and Thoreau preferred their company to those of people engaged in commerce or other business-related occupations.
In his small book Cape Cod, Thoreau recounts his experiences on walking excursions around Cape Cod during the mid-1800's. In the process he described much about the unspoiled nature present throughout the Cape at that time.
In the opening chapter Thoreau talks about the ecology of living along the ocean: in the midst of a desperate sight - the wreck of a boat loaded with immigrants, most of whom drowned, he saw people gathering seaweed to use as fertilizer. The seaweed had been tossed up…… [Read More]
Thoreau and Locke acknowledge the right of the people to renounce their allegiance to their government, what is the difference between their understandings of this right and what different conditions would warrant such an act?
When do citizens have the right to throw off the yoke of a sovereign and adopt a new form of governance that is more in keeping with the wishes and their needs of the majority of the populace? During the age of the Enlightenment in Great Britain, the philosopher John Locke wrote in his "Second Treatise of Governance," that all governments of the world must protect the life, liberty, and property rights of the common citizens. Locke wrote that if a government fails to honor this function, then its citizens had the right to revolt against the government, as the social contract between the governed and the government was not being honored. For example, if…… [Read More]
Individualism in the Eyes of Thoreau and Emerson
Literary works and philosophical ideologies in the early 19th century is characteristically individualistic, where belief in humanity's natural freedom (that is, affinity with nature) was given importance. The ideology of individualism is evident in the works of Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century philosophers and literary writers who composed the works Walden and Self-reliance, respectively. These works from both philosophers advocate the need for an individual to assert his/her identity in a society intolerant of differences and changes. In Walden, Thoreau narrates and documents his attempt in establishing a new life in the woods, primarily to deviate from the comforts that he and the society has learned to depend on. In his discourse, Thoreau states that, "many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind... To be a philosopher…… [Read More]
Henry Thoreau and Ralph Emerson were two of the romantic American writers of the transcendentalist movement, which in essence stresses that less is more, that nature is to be studied, to be a true intellect you must read the classics and that living a life off the beaten path is more satisfying than one on the beaten path. Though Emerson began his writings first, Thoreau and Emerson are both credited with this movement. Emerson was clearly the founder of this initial movement, but Thoreau's writings were also critically acclaimed. The publishing of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience (1849) and alden (1854) followed the 1837 commencement speech of Emerson entitled "The American Scholar" and the 1841 essay "Self-Reliance." The similar views of these two men and their principles for living are seen throughout their respective works though it can be said that Thoreau applied Emerson's beliefs to his own.
"The American Scholar" was…… [Read More]
Socrates and Thoreau are similar through the fact that both of them lobbied for a just world where slavery would not be present concomitantly with taking advantage of the institution of slavery. Socrates would thus identify with Thoreau, given that each of these two men lived in a time when their opinions were worthless when compared to those of the masses. Thoreau and Socrates were well aware that violence would be pointless in times when slavery was still considered to be normal by the majority. Socrates would however feel that Thoreau's perspective in regard to Brown's decision to use violence as a means to achieve justice is erroneous. This is because Socrates lived in a period when slavery was highly esteemed and when it was virtually impossible for someone to rise against the state with the purpose of abolishing it. In contrast, Thoreau, his abolitionist contemporaries, and society in general…… [Read More]
trek the newly paved cement path that weaves throughout the vicinity, I can't help but gaze in wonderment. There was once a time where this vast land was an open field, I imagine perhaps a field of daisies and sun flowers. As I lay in the soft grass, I notice that it is not soft, it is full of life which makes it seem like a green cushion. The mortality of the grass was something that I have not noticed before, I always knew that grass was a living object, but I never understood that it is actually alive.
Rolling around in the grass with my dog, I stumbled into some coarse, prickly, lifelessly hay-like grass. This was when I began to realize that the lively grass would bounce back every time I rolled off of it. This illustrated to me that like the grass, as humans, when something brings…… [Read More]
He centers on people's inability to act according to the dictates of their conscience, for the existence of laws and policies rendered society paralyzed and unable to think conscientiously about their actions -- that is, whether the actions they committed were conscientiously right or wrong. Asserting this point, he stated, "Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?... Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward." From this passage, Thoreau stressed the importance of civil society as the primary holder of power and control in the sovereign rather than the individuals who were supposedly given the function to represent civil society (i.e., political leaders and officials).
In "On the duty of civil…… [Read More]
" The narrator of the film asks: "hat's this war in the heart of nature? hy does nature vie with itself, the land contend with the sea? Is there an avenging power in nature?" Because it is a war film set during the Battle of Guadalcanal, the film explores the meaning of death and acts as a meditation on death much in the same way Christian eschatology contemplates the Four Last Things. In this sense, Malick's Thin Red Line explores themes similar to those explored by hitman and recognizes the need for spiritual transcendence in a world obsessed with death.
Likewise, just as Emily Dickinson represents the force and power of eternity in "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," so too does Malick in the Tree of Life. Dickinson writes in her poem of her understanding of immortality: "Since then -- 'tis Centuries -- and yet / Feels shorter…… [Read More]
As William Henry Davies would have averred, "… we have no time to stand and stare…" Frost describes, at length, how a young boy might have enjoyed himself swinging along the boughs. Certainly, one boy might have not been able to have bent several boughs. Frost does realize the cause of the bending of the boughs. It is the weight of the ice that collects on the boughs that causes them to bend. But a man can wish, can't he?
In "Mending Walls," Frost celebrates the notion of solitude. He twice mentions, "fences make good neighbors;" this is despite what one hears very often in modern parlance that, one should build bridges, not fences." The poem is interplay between two individuals or two opposing concepts. One is about the protection of one's privacy and the celebration of solitude. The opposing view supports the notion of community living and the need…… [Read More]
Thoreau argues that his solitude does not equal loneliness. First, Thoreau describes the brilliance of his relationship with plants, animals, and the elements. Second, Thoreau comments on the connections he maintains with the world outside of Walden Pond, as visitors frequent the house to leave cards, flowers, and gifts in support of his endeavor. Finally, Thoreau feels paradoxically less lonely when he is alone: "I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."
In the opening chapter of Thoreau's conclusion to Walden Pond, the author notes, "The universe is wider than our views of it." One of the reasons Thoreau leaves Walden is because the experiment has increased his appreciation for the vastness and the beauty of the world. He leaves because Walden Pond has inspired him to go out into the world and apply what he learned during the experiment. He explicitly states…… [Read More]
Mill take issue with the Puritans? Explain.
Famed government theoretician John Stuart Mill took great exception with the Puritans who traveled to the New orld in order to start a community based upon similar fanatical religious beliefs. The reason that he took such issue with the Puritans is that they used religion as a basis of government but worse than this they used that religious intolerance in order to oppress and marginalize others. The Puritans made their laws based upon the assertion that their restriction encouraged moral behavior, but in doing so they took away each person's right to make individual choices. Mill wrote, "ith respect to what is said of the necessity of protecting society from the bad example set to others by the vicious or the self-indulgent; it is true that bad example may have a pernicious effect, especially the example of doing wrong to others with impunity…… [Read More]
Conflict between Civil Obedience and Moral Freedom (Free ill and Personal Conscience) in the Discourses of Henry Thoreau, Martin Luther King, and Plato
People in societies, upon establishing institutions that provides and maintains order, unity, and peace within the society, are bound together through an agreement. This agreement, termed the "social contract," binds people together to commit subject themselves to the power of the government, where part of an individual's free will is given to it. The government acts as an agent, the representative of the people, in order to ensure that all members of the society comply with the laws of Nature, wherein humans are under obligation to follow.
In effect, the government plays a vital role in ensuring the society that peace, unity, and order are established. Any deviation or disobedience from the laws imposed by the society can result to punishment of the individual. Indeed, social institutions…… [Read More]
"That government is best which governs least," (Thoreau). The opening line of Civil Disobedience testifies to the importance of individual enlightenment over blind conformity. Government should ideally be by the people and for the people. Laws are often arbitrary and reflect outmoded social norms. In Crito, Plato foresees centuries of government oppression of the people via unjust laws. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are both figureheads of civil disobedience because they followed the rational and sound examples set by Plato and Thoreau. Like Socrates in Crito, Martin Luther King understands that anarchy is not the solution to overturning unjust laws. No individual should obey an unjust law. The intelligent individual promotes democratic ideals and self-empowerment rather than acting as a martyr. In fact, obeying an unjust law is akin to perpetuating injustice. It is the duty of every conscious citizen, who is intent on promoting the good life,…… [Read More]
American Dream" in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" with References to Mark Twain and Henry Thoreau
Arthur Miller's play entitled "Death of a Salesman" is a story about a man who has created a conflict with his family because of his great belief in the American Dream. Willy Loman, the main character in the story, makes a living by being a salesman, and the story revolves around his frustrations in life, particularly the strain in his relationship with his eldest son, iff Loman. Willy's frustrations stems from the fact that iff was not able to have a permanent and stable job, and is often fired from work because of some petty offense or misconduct on his son's part. Willy always insist that his son iff must develop relations with other people, and he must also have charisma and the ability to interact with them in order to achieve prosperity…… [Read More]
landscape studies pioneer, John rinckerhoff Jackson, studied the contemporary landscape - common, everyday places where we live, work and play - for the clues it provides to American culture.
In 1964, the American Congress passed the Wilderness Act, thereby protecting over 100 million acres of public land from development. Wilderness was "recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." Wilderness must remain "in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape." Finally, Wilderness is "an untamed natural realm,"..."that's ideally"..."unpeopled.."
People should stay back, as if in front of a picture, admire and enjoy it but they are not allowed to trespass it. The landscape has to remain untouched. As I was reading the above mentioned fragments from the Wilderness Act, a question popped up: "Why?"
Isn't it…… [Read More]
Charles Fort's We do not Fear the Father and Louise Edrich's the Lady in the Pink Mustang, what are the metaphors, similes and allegories in these two poems? How do they enhance the meaning of the poem?
A pink car signifies that she wants to be a girly-girly with a simple life, but the car, proud, and different. The car is a mustang, which is a wild, fast, and promiscuous creature. "The sun goes down for hours, taking more of her along than the night leaves with her," reflects the kind of empty work that she does during the night, and that she only belongs to herself in the day time when she is not performing. "It is what she must face every time she is touched, the body disposable as cups." Could the girl in the pink mustang be a stripper, a showgirl, or a prostitute? Regardless, she feels…… [Read More]
Nick, you are a sensitive, thoughtful, and intelligent man who has the potential to learn a lot from the current challenges you have presented. The questions you ask are astute and show a willingness to change and a vast array to tools with which to deal with change. Your self-awareness and insight are admirable, and are your core strengths. This self-improvement plan will help you capitalize on your strengths, and also become more realistic about your boundaries and limitations. Do not feel these boundaries and limitations are faults, because they are not. They are part of what makes you a unique and interesting individual. First I would like to answer your core questions in turn.
What advice can you give me about how to organize my life to achieve my goals of financial independence and spiritual fulfillment?
The financial independence you need will come, if you can outline…… [Read More]
Native American trickster tales "Coyote, Skunk and the Prairie Dogs," and "Owlwoman and Coyote" and "Walden," by Henry David Thoreau. Specifically it will look at the depiction of the interactions of humans and nature, their similarities and differences, and what relevance the depictions have for Americans today.
HOW HUMANS INTERACT WITH NATURE
Walden" is often called Thoreau's ode to his beliefs - he wrote in while he spent over two years in a cabin on Walden Pond, about a mile away from Concord, Massachusetts. He did see friends and go into town occasionally during his solitary life, but for the most part, he lived apart, wrote, and philosophized.
His time there was serene, and he said, "Both place and time were changed, and I dwelt nearer to those parts of the universe and to those eras in history which had most attracted me. Where I lived was as far off…… [Read More]
It is about impression and feeling, about individual recollection. This memoir is a combination of facts about my life and certain embellishments. It is a subjective truth, altered by the mind of a recovering drug addict and alcoholic" (rey 2006).
Defenders of rey were even more explicit in noting that telling a good story and creating a vivid image in the mind of a reader often demands the use of certain literary techniques. Lee Gutkind, in an article titled "The Creative Nonfiction Police" pointed out that even Henry David Thoreau compressed certain elements of Thoreau's famous two years spent on Walden Pond into one for the sake of creating a more compelling narrative (Gutkind 2004). Compressing certain events can be used to create the impression of how an event 'really felt' even if it is not how the event really was, much like how time sometimes seems to slow down…… [Read More]
Further, warfare and poverty have all but been eliminated. But in order to have happiness, the people are dependent on government produced stimulation, including Soma and promiscuous sex. The reason for this is because this society lacks the staples of human identity and individuality, such as family, culture, art, literature, science, religion and philosophy.
n this sense, Huxley's utopia is an ironic, or false utopia as without individuality and happiness, society is not really a utopia. Thus, Socrates would agree with Huxley's underlying philosophy that true happiness is only possible through an expression of individuality. Without individuality, society is in fact a distopia.
This is a sentiment that Thoreau would agree with as the premise of his Walden Pond was to create a personal utopia through an expression of complete individuality. Thoreau's premise was that by depending on pure individuality one would experience true happiness. n order to accomplish this,…… [Read More]
nature in American literature, from earliest writings to the Civil War period. It is my purpose to outline the connection between spirituality, freedom and nature and explain how American writers have chosen to reflect and interpret these themes in relation to their historical realities.
At the beginning of the colonization process there were two congruent depictions of nature. Initially, the tribes comprising The Iroquois League lived in close contact with nature and believed in the importance of maintaining a harmonious relationship with it. In this respect, the Iroquois Constitution imposes a devout display of gratitude to all by-human elements of the world before the opening of any council. On the other hand, the early explorers and founders of the United States perceived an immense natural potential in the country. In this sense, Thomas Hariot describes the New World as a land of wealth, his words and images aimed both at…… [Read More]
The term "manifest destiny" was coined by John L. O'Sullivan during the administration of President James Knox Polk in the middle of the 19th century. However, the concept of manifest destiny seemed to have guided the original settling of the European colonies in North America, with the accompanying sense of entitlement to the lands and people therein. Manifest destiny suggested that God ordained America to be special, and wanted Americans to conquer and amass as much land as possible. Territorial acquisition became the cornerstone of American politics in the 19th century. Under President Polk, the boundaries of the United States stretched as far as they could possibly go, warranting war with a neighboring state: Mexico. Therefore, the events leading up to the Mexican War were directly linked to the overall concept of Manifest Destiny.
However, there were other precursors to the Mexican War. ebellions in California led to…… [Read More]
They both are seeking wisdom and spiritual growth, but for very different reasons. Frankl has to find some kind of order and reason in his experience, or he will either go mad or die. Thoreau's spiritual quest is one of peace and harmony, while Frankl's is one of duress and oppression. He writes, "What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment" (Frankl 171). At that given moment in time, Frankl's life did not mean anything to anyone but himself, and he used this experience to develop his own philosophy on life and wisdom, just as Thoreau used his experience to develop his own philosophy. The two men had the same goals, but reached them very differently due to their circumstances.
It is difficult to judge who has the best approach, because they both did…… [Read More]
Heavy rule will always lead to destruction one way or another. Individuals can only take being oppressed for so long. An ideal society is one where the government and the people are happy.
e see the results of oppression when we look at Martin Luther King's ideas and dreams for a better society. A world apart from Machiavelli's time, King captures the plight of the oppressed individual. He knows all too well what people experience when they are held down by a government that encroaches on everyday freedom. He urges his readers to "rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice" (King). He also sees hope in the future and asks people to "make justice a reality for all of God's children" (King). Justice is part of the government's responsibility to the people. Elizabeth Cady Canton also understood the struggle for independence.…… [Read More]
evolution, Education, And Modernization
evolution, Education and Modernization
Is revolution an acceptable way to change government? Why or why not?
In 1776 the founding fathers of the United States faced a situation where this question was paramount among the interests of their fellow countrymen:
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation" ("The Declaration of Independence," 1776).
History shows that when the needs of a society are not being met revolution is generated from outside the existing system since it is that system that is perceived as…… [Read More]
American Myths Nature Environment
Unlimited Growth and Finite Resources
Western Civilization is currently coming to terms with some very important and unsettling realities. Capitalism, and modern economics thinkers, have idolized economic growth without limit. In most economic textbooks and theories, economic growth is considered an end good, and a lack of economic growth a problem.
Though we can argue about whether economic growth is a good in all situations, it is indisputable that economic growth has natural limits. These natural limits are created by our own natural environment. For this reason, the culture of "more" which dominates Western Civilization and drives all of our reasoning, is not sustainable.
The effect of Western industrial capitalist civilization on the environment has been huge. The culture of Western civilization, currently driven by an ethic of individualism and materialism, empowered by science and technology, has done irreversible damage to the natural environment and continues…… [Read More]
John Brown's Raid On Harper's Ferry
John Brown and his raid at Harper's Ferry have a symbolic importance, as he himself was well aware, to suggest that not all white people counted themselves complicit in the persistence of slavery within the antebellum United States. In other words, Brown was engaged in what old-style Marxist revolutionaries used to refer to as "propaganda of the deed." His letters from prison were consciously intended as propaganda, as he asked for them to be circulated (and indeed published): "Please let all our friends read my letters when you can; & ask them to accept of it as in part for them."(Earle 98). And although his stated intention at Harper's Ferry -- to seize the weaponry there, arm the slaves of western Virginia, and thus begin Spartacus-style uprising -- failed, Brown craved martyrdom as justification, claiming: "I have now no doubt but that our seeming…… [Read More]
A few thousand people gathered at the venue that evening, and when Dr. Martin Luther King took up the mike and spoke that he was 'tired' of being discriminated against and segregated all the time and that it was time to start changing. The principles to use, he stated were those of non-violence and non-co-operation, and these would bring about justice and freedom for his people who were undergoing constant humiliations at every step in their lives. Persuasion, and not coercion, and Christian love, and a basic desire to listen to one's own conscience and act according to the dictates of the conscience must be the motto to be followed, he said, and this would bring about more results than those of violence and bloodshed. During his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. stated that if his people would protest against these constant indignities with courage, and not with violence, with…… [Read More]
Scott Russell Sanders -- a Modern, Midwestern Transcendentalist
His evolving life and vision
Scott Russell Sanders is one of the most distinguished authors of creative and environmentalist fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of the contemporary Midwest alive today. His many publications include novels, such as The Invisible Company, Bad Man Ballad, Terrarium, and the Engineer of Beasts, as well as books for children. His writings have appeared regularly in such literary trade publications and journals as the Georgia Review and Orion, as well as the environmentalist publication Audubon, and numerous anthologies. He is not merely a great writer, however. Sanders is also a great thinker who seeks to connect saving the individual soul, saving the environment, and seeking a quality spiritual live through the medium of creative works and prose. He is, in many ways, a kind of modern, Midwestern Transcendentalist along the lines of Thoreau and Emerson. He seeks to…… [Read More]
Birmingham Campaign of 1963 and the Civil Rights Movement
Since the end of the Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in America, equal rights for African Americans was one of the anticipated outcomes. Yet, the law did not swing entirely in favor of equality; rather, it offered freedom and segregation. Jim Crow laws were essentially institutionalized with the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) decision, which affirmed that blacks were “separate but equal” to whites—i.e., they were “equal” in the eyes of the law (after all, the 14th Amendment had affirmed their equality, and the 15th had affirmed their right to vote—even women were not granted that right until the 19th Amendment), but as far as the law was concerned blacks were not permitted to mingle with whites in public. Thus, blacks had to sit in their own sections in a theatre (the balcony—referred to…… [Read More]
I think Dickinson's poem is a work that is quite special because of the way she has taken the topic of death and she has made death into human form that is not at all like we would imagine him to be.
It is the sensibility that poets and others writers have, how they come to universal issues and human topics, that make a piece of writing literature. Some may argue that literature is only the classics, however, even popular books (e.g., the Harry Potter series or Twilight series) can be categorized as literature if they fulfill the purpose of the journey. Literature is literature if it speaks to people in a universal way and a lot of popular works can do that.
Within literature there are definite styles and movements. Henry David Thoreau was a writer who focused on what it meant to be human by comparing the human…… [Read More]
Mr. Hooper states that he is no better or worse than the other members of his community, who he believes also harbor secret sins, even though they act as though they do not. The anti-Transcendentalist concept, like Transcendentalism, suggests that society harbors a false surface, but it believes this is due to an innate sinfulness of humankind, not because human beings outside of society are better.
Anti-transcendentalists believed that humans are hypocrites, and removing social constrictions will not heal the sins of humanity. Mr. Hooper, unlike Emerson's joyful sense of solitude in nature also experiences his isolation as a penance. He chooses to punish himself, not to gain a more positive sense of his inner self, but to fully understand and apprehend its sinfulness. Another key concept of Transcendentalism is the idea that a person's inner life is more important than their social, outer life. However, in Mr. Hooper's estimation,…… [Read More]
Backpacking is often regarded as an activity, which is undertaken only by those people who have a deep love for the outdoors, adventure, or for roughing it out. However, while it is true that backpacking is not for the fainthearted, it is an activity that perhaps everyone should try at least once in his or her lifetime. For, backpacking can prove to be an enormously rewarding experience. It is the objective of this paper to describe the benefits of backpacking as well as explore some of its more practical aspects.
The term "backpacking" means literally that, as in "carrying something in a pack on the back." However, in point of fact, the word "backpacking" has grown to connote much more than the simple act of carrying a pack on the back. Indeed, today, backpacking virtually signifies a subculture in the world of travel and tourism: "Backpacking is traveling long distances…… [Read More]
Indeed. Gertrude Stein wrote for "herself" for many years prior to ever being noticed as the marvelously talented and versatile writer that she was. That fact was a reality simply because she did not have the opportunity for many years to publish the work she was so tirelessly putting out. Meanwhile, her legacy today is that of an extraordinarily insightful and respected woman of letters, an innovator, an elite member of the artistic avant garde in Europe, a prolific poet and writer, a visionary, something of a rebel, and more. Although she died in 1946 (of intestinal cancer), her work is discussed, debated, dissected and analyzed like the work of few other poets/writers. It's almost as if she were alive today.
Certainly this paper focuses on a gifted thinker whose poetic form is sometimes misunderstood, but rarely ignored. And it also delves into the life of a…… [Read More]
Emerson, he believed resistance to conformity and exploration of self, led to a kind of self-reliance that permeated the inner workings and imaginings of the human soul. What began as a simple analysis of self-explored concepts, took on the form of universal philosophy. This essay will examine Emerson's work, "Self-eliance" in a way that will not only analyze themes, but also provide a closer look into the context surrounding Emerson at the time as well as possible meanings behind the text.
alph Waldo Emerson wrote an 1841 essay titled "Self-eliance". An American essayist and transcendentalist philosopher, Emerson provides his most thorough statement of one of his ongoing themes: the avoidance of false consistency and conformity. Meaning, Emerson preached for people to follow their own ideas and instincts instead of relying on society's imposed rules and standards. His famous quote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by…… [Read More]
The Social Studies instruction that I observed was in a high school setting with students of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. The demographic of the class consisted of 12 students, 5 female, 7 male; 3 African-American, 1 Asian-American, 1 Hispanic-American, and 1 foreign exchange student from Germany, as well as 6 Caucasian Americans. The overall demographic of the school is about 75% Caucasian American, 15% African-American, 5% Hispanic-American, and 5% other. There is about a 50-50 mix of males and females in the student body. The teachers are mostly female, with only about 30% of the faculty being male. Less than 5% of the faculty is African-American. There is 1 Hispanic teacher. The school’s faculty is thus not very reflective of the study body in terms of ethnic background.
The Social Studies instruction I observed helped to prepare students for participation in a democratic society by focusing on the recent Occupy…… [Read More]
Perhaps because he was writing in the wake of the Vietnam Era, Schroeder is highly conscious of the 'dammed if you do, damned if you don't' position anti-war politicians often find themselves, when it comes to morally and financially supporting the troops abroad. As was often the case since, most Congressmen, agreed to send aid, even if they opposed the war.
But even if congress voted to apportion funds, and obeyed Polk's degree, the dissent to the war continued to be expressed loudly and eloquently by pro-slavery and abolitionist forces alike. For the first time, the oppositional part of the Whigs articulated a clear position against the chief executive's major military policy initiative, creating the foundation, however unintentionally of the modern philosophically differentiated two-party system, where the party out of power often disagrees quite strongly with the foreign policy of the party in power. The notion of how to be…… [Read More]
To a great degree individual environmentalists, and especially martyrs, those who have lost their lives or liberty are seen by those in the most radical circles as defining members of their group. It is also clear that for the most part individuals in the movement are not recognized as such, excluding public figures such as former vice president Al Gore, who just received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change ("Al Gore" 21) or the frequent Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, an ardent environmentalist.
Al Gore." estern Mail (Cardiff, ales) 13 Feb. 2007: 21.
Baird, Stephen L. "Climate Change: A Runaway Train?. The Human Species Has Reshaped Earth's Landscapes on an Ever-Larger and Lasting Scale." The Technology Teacher 66.4 (2006): 14.
Environmentalism." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2004.
Crichton, Michael. "Environmentalism as Religion Run Amok." USA Today (Society for the Advancement of…… [Read More]
Whilst I talk, some poor farmer drudges & slaves for me" (Journals 9: 126). He feels that a real reformer is the one who would refuse to purchase or use slave-produced goods and in this regard he noted: "Alas! alas! my brothers, there is never an abolitionist in New England" (Journals 9:128).
Thus reform though it has been an important subject has often elicited different responses from thinkers and writers. While some connected it with religion, others completely kept religion away from it. Winthrop's brand of reform is not only different from Emerson's but the former will never find any endorsement of his views in the writings of Emerson's. The latter was more involved and interested in individualistic reform that focused on change within one's self instead of institutionalized change. The different in thinking can be attributed to the different time periods in which they composed their thoughts.
Emerson,…… [Read More]
ere all the literary works of Nathaniel Hawthorne compiled into a single manuscript, then appropriately filtered to include only works of prose and fiction, and if an attempt were then made to uncover a single motif spanning through the vast majority of the remaining text, it would read something like the following. A protagonist is haunted by a vague, strangely preternatural feeling of foreboding and doom that eventually manifests itself physically before mortally claiming its victim. Sadly, but not surprisingly so, this motif could also apply to Hawthorne's life. Despite the fact that the author who many have acclaimed as one of the finest in American history enjoyed a celebrated literary career (with a number of impressive, political boons as well), he was never able to fully surmount all of his 'demons' and enjoy the happiness that should have rightfully been his. Instead, the celebrated author…… [Read More]
However incentives such as cleaner air, less pollution in areas where there is little greenery, natural beauty, and a healthy food source are attractive blogs Kevin Songer on 'Living Green oofs (2010).
What are "Living Walls"
Living Walls are similar to Green oofs providing benefits of insulation, natural beauty, longevity, and recycling advantages according to ELT Living Walls an article that avidly supports environmentally friendly living (2010). Plants can also be grown on the walls of homes. Many countries have already adopted this eco-friendly solution in countries such as Tanzania, and Nova Scotia, for example, where there are extremely hot and cold temperatures comments Chicago Green oofs (2011). Combining 'Green oofs' with 'Living Walls', a YouTube video demonstration presentation by showing how panels can be added to the home (YouTube, 2011).
So far the case for "Green oofs and Living Walls" has incorporated the societal, historical, and cultural…… [Read More]
S. responded to the Great Depression by electing FDR, who brought out his Alphabet Programs which were supposed to put the nation back to work with public works projects. When that failed to restore the economy, the world elected to start with a new war: WWII. Germany had been buried by the Western powers following WWI -- and now the country threatened to assert itself once more. Russia was in the middle of its own revolution: Stalin was liquidating the kulaks and rounding others up and shipping them off to the Gulag. That did not help Russia's economy any more than FDR's Alphabet program -- but it did not matter: war was on the horizon. Japan was being strangled by Western powers: the American military-industrial-congressional complex essentially forced Japan to attack -- and then sat back and let it happen when Japan finally decided to bomb Pearl Harbor. Thus, America…… [Read More]
His analysis is therefore a direct investigation of the contact between the two cultural identities and their specific characteristics.
As opposed to this, Cronon uses an indirect argumentation to demonstrate the differences between the two cultures. He starts his discussion from a critique of Thoreau's view on the origins of the American civilization. Thoreau first advocated that the American land was a virgin territory when it was in the hands of the Indian-Americans. He thus contrasts at the same time the ecosystems and the economic policies of the Natives and the Colonists, focusing his argumentation of the external aspects of the two cultures rather than on the inner, spiritual cores of these cultures, like Axtell. His main thesis is that the Western colonizers brought with them the concept of "property" which is the main culprit for the subsequent radical changes in the ecosystems of the country: "English property systems encouraged…… [Read More]
Socrates' speech in Plato's Apology. It is this author's opinion that Socrates' position that the unexamined life is not worth living has validity. We will see that this is the case as we examine Socrates' spontaneous oration regarding virtue and how it can not be learned. Obviously, if the lives of these youths had been virtuous, then it might have been possible for them to learn this character trait and to prove Socrates wrong. This is the case because only when someone examines their life do they shake off their bigotry and raise their awareness to a higher level.
As alluded to in the introduction, Socrates is correct that the unexamined life is not worth living. This is because only those people who struggle to resolve the contradictions in their life have an existence that is real. Those who do not are at best ignorant and at worst bigots who…… [Read More]
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Florida Folklife riter
It is important when pursuing the study of history, not to get caught in the habit of reciting historical dates and facts. If this is the true study of history, then it involves nothing more than memorization. For one to truly understand why the people of a certain time period behaved as they did, it is necessary to get into their personal daily lives. It is important to know the passions of their daily struggles. It is rare that we get such as glimpse into these other lives, so long ago. This is the type of valuable information that we get when reading the works of Marjorie Rawlings.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is one of the most famous Florida writers of all time. She loved the folklife in Alachua County, Florida and has been compared to Henry David Thoreau in her style. She gives…… [Read More]
Knew a oman by Theodore Roethke:
Theodore Roethke was, above all, a great American poet -- planted solidly in the tradition of Emerson, Thoreau, and hitman. Indeed, much like Thoreau, Roethke seemed to have an ability, perhaps gleaned from his intense love of nature, that allowed his poetry to communicate in a way that few poets ever imagine.
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1908, as a child, Roethke was prone to spending large amounts of time in the family greenhouse. It is from this time, some theorize, that the poet would absorb much of the imagery that would influence him in his verse (Poets.org). A rather lackluster student, he attended the University of Michigan as well as Harvard. Although he was not a relatively prolific writer by any means (his first book, Open House, published in 1941, took ten years to complete), the work he did produce was very well…… [Read More]
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an Eighteenth Century American author who through his works explored the subject of human sin, punishment and guilt. In fact, themes of pride, guilt, sin, punishment and evil is evident in all of his works, and the wrongs committed by his ancestors played a particular dominant force in Hawthorne's literary career, such as his most famous piece, "The Scarlet Letter" (Nathaniel Pp). Hawthorne and other writers of the time, Ralph aldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Herman Melville, looked to the Puritan origins of American history and Puritan styles of rhetoric to create a distinctive American literary voice (Nathaniel Pp).
Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1803. His father, who died when Nathaniel was four years old, was a sea captain and direct descendent of John Hathorne, one of the judges in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 (Nathaniel Pp). Growing up in seclusion with his…… [Read More]