“I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
This quote is from Resistance to Civil Government by Henry David Thoreau. This essay was published 1849. During this time, many authors including Thoreau were Transcendentalists. Transcendentalism was a religious theory in the nineteenth-century that proclaimed that truth can’t be found just by observation, and that it rather “transcends” the senses over time. Resistance to Civil Government was written when Thoreau refused to pay taxes. It argues that individuals shouldn’t let permit the government to overrule their consequences. His refusal to pay taxes was intended as a protest against an unpopular tax and an indirect protest against the government condoning slavery. Later, Thoreau was threw in jail.
This quote was significant during that time because he thought that if he didn’t believe in something that was going on in the government, you shouldn’t be forced to pay taxes. He wanted to let people know that they have the duty to avoid allowing the government to make them the agents of injustice.
This quote is a very strong one. I think it means that he shouldn’t have to be forced to pay taxes to a government he doesn’t agree with. He thinks the government is corrupt and doesn’t think he should be forced to pay taxes. When I read Resistance to Civil Government, I totally understand where Thoreau was coming from when he wrote it. I agree with this quote. If I was reading this quote without knowing the meaning behind it, I would say that it means no one should be able to force me to do anything. I am my own person and I can make my own decisions. I will do what I want to do.
I think this quote is applicable today. Whether using it toward the government or just saying it to someone. It is used to open people’s eyes about something and getting them to understand where you’re coming from. Using this quote today can get points across today just like it did in the nineteenth-century.