"Action from principle, the perception and the performanceof right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary."33When unjust laws exist, there are three choices: 1) obey them,2) obey them while working to change them, or 3) transgress themat once. Yet the evil resulting from breaking an unjust law isthe fault of the government. Thoreau wondered why government resistsreform. "Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicateCopernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?"34Thoreau advised us to let minor injustices pass if the remedyis worse than the evil.
In 1838 Garrison organized and wrote a "Declaration ofSentiments" for the New England Non-Resistance Society thatwas open to all regardless of color or sex or creed who acceptedtheir principle of renouncing all violence. The founders consideredthemselves "a few obscure, moneyless, uninfluential men andwomen." One of the outspoken leaders was the Quaker LucretiaMott. Novelist Lydia Maria Child did not like to attend meetings,but she wrote that the idea of nonresistance is what distinguishesthe gospel of Christ from other philosophies and makes it holy.
Peacemaking among primates: By Frans de Waal. …
On January 1, 1831 Garrison began publishing under the well known motto "Our Country Is the World-OurCountrymen Are Mankind." Having recanted on gradual abolition,he promised to be "as harsh as truth and as uncompromisingas justice." The periodical was excluded from the South,but the number of subscribers grew gradually to 3,000 by 1837and stayed at that level until all slaves were emancipated in1865. In 1832 Garrison organized the New England Anti-SlaverySociety and published the 240-page pamphlet , in which he exposed the contradictions of theColonization Society and called for the immediate liberation ofall slaves in the United States and recognized their right tolive where they choose. Arthur Tappan distributed a pamphlet byQuaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier calling for the abolitionof slavery without "violence or blood."
Toward a Theoretical Model of Peacemaking Criminology…
In prison Thoreau thought of the absurdity of confining hisbody when his mind and spirit are free; he pitied the state fortrying to punish his body because they could not get at him. Theyused superior physical strength against his body, but moral forcecomes from a higher law. When a government says, "Your moneyor your life," it is playing the thief. Why should one givein to that? Thoreau described his stay in prison and the changedattitude of the townspeople to him when he came out. He also mentionedthat he never refused to pay the highway tax or support the schools,but he must refuse allegiance to the state. Those whose taxessupport the state at war are helping injustice. Thoreau expressedan eagerness to conform to the laws of the land so long as thereis no moral principle to be violated. He was willing to obey thosewho know more than he; yet the authority of the government dependsupon the consent of the governed.
Toward a Theoretical Model of Peacemaking Criminology: ..
Thoreau treated of imprisonment instead of the seizure of propertybecause he believed that people of principle are usually poor;the rich have sold themselves to the institution, and they enjoyCaesar's government and neglect God. It is not necessary to relyon the protection of the state. When the state is corrupt, itis no shame to be poor; then disobedience is more worthy thanobeying.
If Peacemaking is a work of art, ..
If a person is truly in the right, one has God on one's sideand constitutes a majority of one. His contact with the tax collectorwas Thoreau's only association with the government and thereforehis best means of protest. The action of one honest man can domore for reform than all the words in the world. "Under agovernment which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for ajust man is also a prison."36 The person who has experienceda little injustice for the sake of justice is more effective,as truth is stronger than error. Thoreau exhorted us: