How does moral conscience
lead to civil disobedience?
What does it mean?
Ralph Waldo Emerson (writer) came up with the
Henry David Thoreau (Emerson’s student)
They both believed that people are born with
an inner sense that helped them to recognize
moral truth. (The difference between good and
This moral sense “transcended”, or in others
words, went beyond our experiences.
Do not go where the path may
lead, go instead where there
is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
It's not what you look at that
matters, it's what you see.
-- Henry David Thoreau
They refused to follow
laws they felt were
unjust and morally
Martin Luther King Jr.
Gandhi both adopted
Thoreau’s idea of civil
Thoreau spent the night in jail for failing to pay
his taxes. He did this to protest against a
government that enforced slavery and which he
felt had wrongly gone to war with Mexico.
He wrote an essay called “On the Duty of Civil
Disobedience”, in which he spoke about our
responsibility to reject slavery and other “unjust”
laws of the government.
“On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”
Henry David Thoreau
“ I think that we should be men first, and subjects
afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a
respect for the law, so much as for the right. How
does it become a man to behave toward the
American government today? I answer that he
cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I
cannot for an instant recognize that political
organization as my government which is the slave’s
What is Thoreau saying in this paragraph?
What argument does Thoreau give to justify not paying his taxes
What would be an act of civil disobedience
during the 1850’s, in America?
(Think of some of the reform movements)
Who was Thoreau?
How is Civil
connected to Moral