Read The Price of Freedom: Political philosophy from Thoreau's journals by Henry David Thoreau Free Online
Book Title: The Price of Freedom: Political philosophy from Thoreau's journals|
The author of the book: Henry David Thoreau
Edition: Picket Line Press
Date of issue: 2011
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.62 MB
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The Price of Freedom presents excerpts from the journals of Henry David Thoreau in which he writes about law, government, man in society, war, economics, duty, and conscience.
Thoreau had to be somewhat cautious when speaking or publishing, but in his journal he felt free to entertain thoughts that have been described as “blasphemous, revolutionary, or, at best, politically incautious” and therefore were never published during his lifetime
These show Thoreau to be uncompromising in his disgust with the government, with church authority, with the news media, and with slavery and those who would accommodate it.
They also show a Thoreau who defended wilderness against “improvement,” who was as curious about economics as he was about trees and turtles, who wrestled with arguments for animal rights, and who went from thinking of soldiers as almost mythological heroes to thinking of them as “powder monkeys” who had mortgaged their consciences to no good end.
Thoreau’s abolitionism was more radical than most—indeed, the mental slavery he opposed has yet to be abolished, and the battle over whether our souls shall be slave states or free soil is a civil war that continues to be fought.
Thoreau sided with freedom. The passages in this volume are part of what he considered “the price of freedom”—his attempts to mine the richest vein of observations about human and political life, and to preserve what he found free from all censorship.
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Read information about the authorHenry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.
Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism.
In 1817, Henry David Thoreau was born in Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1837, taught briefly, then turned to writing and lecturing. Becoming a Transcendentalist and good friend of Emerson, Thoreau lived the life of simplicity he advocated in his writings. His two-year experience in a hut in Walden, on land owned by Emerson, resulted in the classic, Walden: Life in the Woods (1854). During his sojourn there, Thoreau refused to pay a poll tax in protest of slavery and the Mexican war, for which he was jailed overnight. His activist convictions were expressed in the groundbreaking On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849). In a diary he noted his disapproval of attempts to convert the Algonquins "from their own superstitions to new ones." In a journal he noted dryly that it is appropriate for a church to be the ugliest building in a village, "because it is the one in which human nature stoops to the lowest and is the most disgraced." (Cited by James A. Haught in 2000 Years of Disbelief.) When Parker Pillsbury sought to talk about religion with Thoreau as he was dying from tuberculosis, Thoreau replied: "One world at a time."
Thoreau's philosophy of nonviolent resistance influenced the political thoughts and actions of such later figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas K. Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. D. 1862.