Explain what the machine is and how this idea connects to and informs Thoreau’s thesis

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Thoreau, in his essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” employs the extended metaphor of a “machine” to advance his thesis. Looking closely at specific sections of the text where the metaphor is used (pages 3, 5, 8, etc.), try to “un-pack” (analyze the various parts of) this metaphor. Explain what the machine is and how this idea connects to and informs Thoreau’s thesis. While explaining these points, make sure to clarify what Thoreau means by “friction” and “counter-friction.” Provide examples of “friction” and “counter-friction.” Be prepared to share your Journal Entry and reference specific passages from the text. We will have an in-depth discussion in class.



In the essay on the civil of disobedience by Thoreau, it gives an explanation that people should be allowed to decide on the type of government which they need and that they should not be ruled without giving them an opportunity to say what they want in their leadership. This means that when the type of leadership which they have does not portray the type of leadership needed, then people are free to go against this leadership as they advocate for changes. Also, he argues that people should not accept to be used by the government and thus can be achieved by not allowing other people to dictate what should be done.

Thoreau’s attitude towards advancement is that he does not trust the development of new things because he says that they are not a positive advance but will lead to advanced problems. Though he says that the advancement in the society with the development of new things based on the technology should be embraced, people should be careful because they might have side effects which might end up affecting the society.

There are things which Thoreau values and there are ideas which he challenges. Those things which he values include allowing people to choose the type of leadership which want and when they are not getting the type of leadership which they are anticipating for, then they are free to protest against the type of leadership which they have. This means that people are free to fight for their rights since it is the only way in which they will get them. As for the ideas which he challenges, are that people should not allow themselves to be used by the government. He argues that people are supposed to avoid being directed on what they should and instead they should decide what they want to do based on their morals. he further says that when people allow being controlled, they are not respected but in a case whereby they have control of themselves regarding what they do by not allowing to be controlled, then they will be respected. In his case, therefore, Thoreau challenges the idea of the government using people for their own gain.

Thoreau believes that though a man cannot be in a position to prevent the wrong things which are done by other people, he should be in a position to prevent himself from doing these wrong things in the society. This means that a person should not be influenced by others to engage in doing wrong things but he should know what to do and should avoid doing the wrong things. If all people are in a position to prevent themselves from doing wrong things, then the society would be a good place to live since all people are doing the right things. But unfortunately, there are those who are being used, by the government for its gains. By allowing people to decide what they want to do and to avoid what they do not like means that he believed in democracy whereby everyone individual has a right to make his or her own decisions.

There are areas of agreement between Thoreau and O’Sullivan because Thoreau is advocating for democracy whereby people are allowed to make decisions on their own and on the other hand O’Sullivan is advocating for equality. For the equality to be achieved, it means that there should be a democracy. The agreement, therefore, is that they are both advocating for the rights of the citizens. From what Thoreau believe in and what O’Sullivan believe in, they do not contradict each other since Thoreau does not encourage to do what is wrong and also O’Sullivan wants people to b treated equally and when they are treated equally, there will be no wrongdoings. So there is no complication of the ideas between the two.

This text by Thoreau helps the readers to understand that there is the need for them to do what is right and not only to be used by those who are in authority. They should serve when they are aware that they are human beings and not machines. When they serve while they are using their consciousness, they will know what is right to do and what they should not do. This will enable them to avoid being used by the government to do things which are wrong. Also, people will learn that they are supposed to choose their leadership which will grant them the freedom to decide what they want and also when they are against the leadership, they can protest against it.

While reading the text, the first impression was that Thoreau had the interest of the people and thus championing for the democracy and being against the idea of the government using people for its gain. From his explanation that people even can protest when the leadership is not giving them their rights is also an indication that Thoreau cares about people.

In conclusion, the essay is important to the society in the sense that it gives information regarding the leadership which should be embraced. The leadership advocated in the article is where the members of the society are given the opportunity to contribute to the leadership and when the leaders impose things to be done which are against the will of the people, then people should protest. Also, people are not supposed to be controlled on what they do because they will not be respected but for them to be respected, then they should make decisions regarding what they will do and what they will not do. For those who are serving in the government, they should know that they are human beings and not machines thus they should make a decision on what they will do and what they will not do.

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