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Word Count: 1,063
I have never declined paying the highway tax because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject and as for supporting schools I am doing my part to educate my fellow-countrymen now It is for no particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually I do not care to trace the course of my dollar if I could till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with --the dollar is innocent-- but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance In fact I quietly declare war with the State after my fashion though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can as is usual in such casesThe preceding passage comes from the work On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau An important line is written before this for it explains that this passage is from Thoreaus whole history of My Prisons This true story about Thoreau describes his experience in prison for a night for not paying his taxes A close reading of the above passage captures the feelings and thoughts of many taxpayers toward our government These feelings are embedded in Thoreaus challenges to the government his incisive diction and the use of his real-life experiences In this passage Thoreau expresses his thoughts and feelings for both himself and the public around him Toward the end of the passage Thoreau announces that he quietly declares war with the State This does not mean he will actually go to war with the state but it is a metaphor for the intensity that he feels What Thoreau means to say is that he wishes to be his own government although he does not want to force his allegiance to the State Near the
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