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Resistance to Civil Government or Civil Disobedience 1 I heartily accept the mottoThat government is best which governs least and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically Carried out it finally amounts to this which also I believeThat government is best which governs not at all and when men are prepared for it that will be the kind of government which the will have Government is at best but an expedient but most governments are usually and all governments are sometimes inexpedient The objections which have been brought against a standing army and they are many and weighty and deserve to prevail may also at last be brought against a standing government The standing army is only an arm of the standing government The government itself which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it Witness the present Mexican war the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool for in the outset the people would not have consented to this measure 2 This American governmentwhat is it but a tradition though a recent one endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity but each instant losing some of its integrity It has not the vitality and force of a single living man for a single man can bend it to his will It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves But it is not the less necessary for this for the people must have some complicated machinery or other and hear its din to satisfy that idea of government which they have Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon even impose on themselves for their own advantage It is excellent we must all allow Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with
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