The most persuasive essay that we have read in class at the moment is From “Resistance to Civil Government” by Henry David Thoreau. It explains why the people have the right to resistance, the importance of majority opinion, and go against the government. Thoreau uses strong logical, emotional, and ethical appeals throughout the story to express his reasons for standing against the government. Thoreau uses logical appeal throughout the story to persuade the people about how the government doesn’t help the people. Thoreau persuades that the people have the absolute right to withdraw their support from a government whose policies are unjust. It is excellent, we must all allow; yet this government never of itself furthered only enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way. ” “It does not keep the country free. ” “It does not settle the west. ” “It does not educate” (236). Thoreau is using logical appeal to persuade the people that government does not help because he believes it is corrupt, and harmful to society. It’s effective because he is calling out all people to not listen to the government. Thoreau also uses much emotional appeal to persuade the people about having the right to speak what they want.
Thoreau persuades to the audience is that only an individual can have and exercise a conscience. “But to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government at once a better government” (237). Thoreau is using an emotional appeal to the people to have the right to speak what you want than having listened to what the government says all the time. Thoreau is speaking in a powerful and emotional argument of why it is better with no government. Thoreau has pity over the government so that is why he is speaking with such emotion.
Lastly, Thoreau uses ethical appeal in the story to stand against the limited government. “This is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then says distinctly, recognize me; and the simplest, the most effectual, and in the present posture of affairs” (237). Thoreau uses ethical appeal effectively to persuade the people that each person should be treated equally as the other. Thoreau is pushing the people to eliminate the government because he believes that men have the capacity to be self-regulating and independent.
He is credible because he is confident of what he is saying about being against the government from the beginning, as well as persuading a lot of people how much better this world can be without a government, and being honest with the people of why the government is corrupt. Resistance to Civil Government is the most persuasive work of Thoreau that we had read in class because it’s the most detailing and explaining why people should take a stand against government. Thoreau believes the ultimate goal of civil disobedience is to reinforce its core values of liberty and respect for the individual.