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Henry David Thoreau Case

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Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was a famous writer and philosopher in the nineteenth-century. He strongly believed in self-reliance. In addition to this, he also believed that a person should do whatever they want; right or wrong and in non-violent government resistance. Thoreau incorporated his many beliefs into the works he published. Political leaders, reformers, and naturalists were influenced by his work.

Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts as David Henry Thoreau. He wore a neck beard for years because he thought that women found it attractive. He studied at Harvard starting at the age of sixteen from 1833 to 1837. There he studied philosophy, English, Latin, Greek, rhetoric, science, mathematics, and classics courses. After college he received a name change to Henry David. Also, he became a teacher at a public school in Concord, but was terminated from his post after a few weeks because he refused to beat his students as a punishment. Afterwards, he and his brother, John Thoreau, opened a grammar school named Concord Academy in 1838. The academy ended in 1842 when John contracted tetanus and soon died in Henry's arms.

Henry knew he needed to concentrate more on his work. In July of 1845, he lived in a small house that he built himself right next to Walden Pond in Concord. He completed many of his works there such as, Walden, "Civil Disobedience", The Mask of Anarchy, and the first draft of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. He left the pond on September 6, 1847 and returned to the Emerson house where he had been previously living for a few years as a child tutor. He left the Emerson house in July of 1848 and stayed at a home at a street nearby. Finally, in 1850, he and his family moved to a house at 255 Main Street where he would live until his death.

In the year of 1835, Henry David Thoreau acquired tuberculosis and in 1859, he received bronchitis, both from which he would suffer slowly from for the next few years. During his final years, he spent a lot of time editing work he had still not published, specifically on The Maine Woods and Excursions. Henry knew he was going to die and accepted the inevitable fact. Finally, on May 6, 1862, he died. Today, he is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, and is considered one of the greatest American writers of all time.

In his essay, "Civil Disobedience", published in 1849, Thoreau states that "government is best which governs least." This statement has helped shape the beliefs of many political leaders and reformers such as Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., William O. Douglas, and Leo Tolstoy because they assert the power of the voting population. It tells the people to make for themselves a voice in their government. Mahatma Gandhi famously exercised his own version of Civil Disobedience through



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