Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, and Thomas Paine's Common Sense - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Student's Name and Course Number: Professor's Name: The Role of the Individual (in Politics, Government and Society) 23 August 2012 (estimated word count = 1,304) Introduction Modern society requires some semblance of law and order; this is achieved by the so-called social contract in which citizens give up some of their rights in favor of government in exchange for protection…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER96.8% of users find it useful
Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreaus Civil Disobedience, and Thomas Paines Common Sense
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample
"Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, and Thomas Paine's Common Sense"

Download file to see previous pages A free society is hard to achieve because of the competing demands of the individual and that of the state, where individual rights and collective rights often come into conflict. This paper tries to explore two views on the role of the individual in both society and politics. Discussion Man is by nature a social animal and therefore it is but inevitable that some forms of organization exist in any society, even in primitive society. No man can live alone by himself, and when this happens, some compromise has to be found between an individual's rights and that of the society to which he belongs. The usual cause of friction or conflicts in such kind of arrangement is determining the limits of the rights of an individual and that of society. This is an implicit agreement between individuals and society, the very essence of the social contract. This is a philosophical construct wherein free individuals agree to give up their natural rights in favor of being governed by a social or political system for their own common protection or overall welfare, to live harmoniously with others and pursue their goals in life in peace. Along this line, the essay by Thomas Paine entitled “Common Sense” makes a lot of sense in terms of imposing order because Man finds it easier to live together than be apart but as the population increases and society grows larger and larger, the people find it necessary to craft some regulations to govern themselves and later on pass new laws to be enforced. This is the point where a formal government structure becomes a necessity and also the point where it becomes a dangerous instrument when the powers of government fall into the wrong hands. In retrospect, all present societies have this rather curious mix of government and society but in some instances, there is a disconnect between the goals and aims between these two. Taking into account the period of history when “Common Sense” was written, it is a seminal piece of political thought because it argued forcefully for independence from Great Britain at the time when the English government was viewed as extremely oppressive by the American colonies. There were many who were yet undecided on the proper course of action to take, and some thought fighting for independence was a bit extreme to redress matters. The political essay by Thomas Paine convinced those who doubted to change their minds about it, and go for broke by severing ties with the mother country. The colonial government run by the British in America no longer served its original purpose but became instead an instrument for oppression and exploitation, a government run by men and not by laws. It was not in a true sense a representative government but rather one run by a monarchy and aristocracy. The way things were before the American Revolution was a political situation where the social contract had been a failure, either by design or by default. The people clamor for the right to be heard and represented in government. They gave up their natural rights expecting something in return from their government but got shortchanged instead. This contradicts the theory of natural rights to life, liberty and property by philosopher John Locke (Parry 12). Thomas Paine influenced public opinion that the people should re-assert their rights, and the best course of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, Essay”, n.d.)
Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, Essay. Retrieved from
(Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau'S Civil Disobedience, Essay)
Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau'S Civil Disobedience, Essay.
“Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau'S Civil Disobedience, Essay”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
Thomas Paine: Common Sense
In Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, the unknown author makes clear about the sharp distinction between society and government. In doing this, he is able to criticize the latter without criticizing the former. In fact, Paine generally views the government in a negative fashion: “restraining our vices.” As we shall see, Paine has a reason why he distinguishes these two entities (i.e., government and society).
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
Thomas Paine's most essential role in American Revolution
He succeeded in injecting patriotism in the bloods of the Americans which finally helped America in fighting against the British rule and in getting freedom. He has been labeled as a corset maker (a specialist in tailoring corsets) by trade and a journalist by profession
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
Henry David Thoreau essay -Civil Disobediance
He then went on to say that the government never does what it should, but we still give it the power to do anything they want. He also believed that the government always treats people unfairly, punishing them when they want to if it makes them look good.
1 Pages(250 words)Essay
Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
On the other hand, slaveholders can simply be referred to as those who own slaves. Both the slaveholders and the abolitionist movements were a minority in the mid 19th century America. The main focus of this paper is to highlight the arguments fronted by the two camps, and analysis of the impact to the rest of the world will also be discussed in this paper.
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
He was the first man to use the term “Independence” in his writing in response to the conflict that occurred on April 19, 1775. In 1776, he documented a pamphlet referred as “Common Sense” that prompted the discussions on liberty and freedom, which inspired the ancestors to secede from England.
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
Thomas Paine's theory (in Common Sense)
He first reflects the government and religious standings of the society. He then proceeds to scrutinize the particular happenings at the colonial situation. His first analysis begins with dissimilarity between the society and government. According to Paine, a society refers to everything that is good and constructive and joins people together in pursuits of their accomplishments.
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay
Civil Disobedience
Risking punishment, such as violent retaliatory acts or imprisonment, they attempt to bring about changes in the law. (Carton 1998) In the modern era, civil disobedience has been used in such events as street demonstrations, marches, the occupying of buildings, and strikes and other forms of economic resistance.
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense'
To help illustrate this argument for American independence, Paine imagines a situation where a bunch of people are stranded together on a desolate island. After a short time, these people begin to get along with one another; however, they need
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
Henry David
Thoreau lived poorly despite numerous writing. He never used guns although he was a naturalist, and never consumed alcohol or smoked. Notably, he
1 Pages(250 words)Essay
S.O.A.P Analysis For Henry David Thoreau's Brute Neighbors
Since he refers to himself as a hermit in the first section of the essay, it is clear he also gains philosophical insights from the natural world. [97 words] The essay was written to
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.
Let us find you another Essay on topic Role of the Individual in Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, and Thomas Paine's Common Sense for FREE!
Contact us:
Contact Us Now
FREE Mobile Apps:
  • About StudentShare
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ
  • Blog
  • Free Essays
  • New Essays
  • Essays
  • Miscellaneous
  • The Newest Essay Topics
  • Index samples by all dates
Join us:
Contact Us