One of the most important texts of American political thought, "Civil Disobediance" eloquently states a position that has influenced the thinking of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and many figures of the protests in the 1960s against the Vietnam War. Thoreau argues that "the progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual." "There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly." Author of "Walden," Thoreau is one of the 19th century's great American thinkers.
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