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, which was to exercise a great influence on subsequent generations of thinkers.
Thoreau believed every human being has inborn knowledge that enables him to recognize and understand moral truth without benefit of knowledge obtained through the physical senses.
Using this inborn knowledge, an individual can make a moral decision without relying on information gained through everyday living, education, and experimentation.
Thoreau first presented the essay as a lecture on January 26, 1848, at the Concord (Massachusetts) Lyceum.
In May 1849, it was published under the title "Resistance to Civil Government" in Aesthetic Papers, a short-lived journal of transcendentalist Elizabeth Peabody (1804-1894).
David Boaz, in his chapter "The Obsolete State," speculates that the growth of the market and the spread of new technologies may allow individuals greater opportunity in the future to "bypass the state." Of overriding importance to Thoreau was his refusal to sanction the evil institution of slavery, and thus his violation of the Fugitive Slave Laws and his participation in the Underground Railway to freedom for escaped slaves.
While Thoreau opposed slavery, his principal response was to resist it passively, rather than to crusade for its abolition.
Transcendentalism, as Thoreaus moral philosophy was called, did not originate with him or his fellow transcendentalists in New England but with the German philosopher Emanuel Kant.
He used the word transcendental to refer to intuitive or innate knowledge Among them was Mohandas K.
The book is written in an accessible style and does not require any extensive philosphical background. Perry focuses on the more radical abolitionists, many of whom rejected slavery on the same grounds that they rejected absolute government.
Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" is an essay that attempts to persuade readers to oppose unjust government policies in general and the Mexican War and the institution of slavery in particular.