Subversive Historian – 07/23/09

Thoreau’s Night in Jail

Back in the day on June 23th, 1846, philosopher poet Henry David Thoreau spent the night in jail for refusing to pay his poll taxes. The acclaimed author of “Walden” did so in protest of the U.S. – Mexican War which had started months earlier. As an opponent of slavery, which many abolitionists saw as a motivation to instigate the conflict, Thoreau felt that the war was a comparable evil. After his detainment in a Concord, Massachusetts jail, Thoreau reflected upon his experience in the highly influential essay originally titled “Resistance to Civil Government,” but known to the world forever more as “Civil Disobedience.” In the tome against complacency, he writes “under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison.” The essay served as inspiration for many troublemakers through history such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

For Thoreau actions and keen insight in defiance against the war, your subversive historian is posthumously awarding him as an ‘honorary Mexican.’

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2 responses to “Subversive Historian – 07/23/09

  1. One of my dissertations for my Master’s in Latin American studies at UCLA was debunking Thoreau’s opposition! Need to find it…

  2. once u dig it up, email it to me. would be interested in reading the argument

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