Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Thoreau, Henry David (1817–1862)
Henry David Thoreau was an antebellum essayist and naturalist whose work later inspired nonviolence activists, environmentalists, and advocates of counterculture. Like other members of the so-called Transcendentalist school, Thoreau believed that we are all born with a moral sense we can cultivate and that this moral sense allows us to distinguish right from wrong. In a democratic society, where policies are pursued in the name of the population as a whole, this moral common sense brings with it a duty to resist unprincipled government policies. There are always means at hand to take up this responsibility because exemplary acts of resistance to unprincipled ...