One of the most powerful rhetorical devices is logos, or the appeal to logic, and Thoreau uses it to great effect in this passage. In his book, “Resistance to Civil Government,” Thoreau compares the mass of men to a machine. In doing so, he successfully establishes himself as an objective, logical, and trustworthy character. His appeal to logic, combined with his appeal to humanity, helps the reader accept his point of view.
In order to make his argument for the importance of morality, Thoreau makes use of cultural memory. Culture is the memory that connects a writer and a reader. In this passage, Thoreau taps into this memory by using allusions and references from the past. His allusions to history and literature make this passage particularly appealing today. Therefore, Thoreau’s allusions and references to history and literature will remain relevant.
Another way Thoreau uses logos is to appeal to the audience’s sensibility. He argues that “there is no monopoly on the power of reason.” While this is true, it is impossible to control the power of human reason. Consequently, Thoreau argues that human morality is a matter of personal choice and will be shaped by an individual’s life experiences.
Through the use of logos, Thoreau appeals to the logic of the audience. His example shows that the power of law and morality rests with everyday people, not a hundred thousand politicians in the South. In this passage, Thoreau points out that the opponents of reform in Massachusetts are not the ten thousand wealthy merchants and farmers in the south. Instead, he gives a factual account of the opposition to the reform movement in the state.
In this passage, Thoreau uses metaphors to make his point. He compares machinery to gaming, and he uses allusions to other texts. Through this, he aims to convince the reader to feel or act differently. His purpose is also revealed through specific places in the essay. For instance, he talks about his own experiences of being a slave and the dangers of slavery.
Thoreau also uses logos to support his argument. Using allusions and references, he appeals to the audience’s logic. In the first part of the passage, Thoreau describes a woman in an unjustified situation. He claims that her actions have led to the same result. He argues that she was a victim of sexual harassment. Similarly, he believes that she should not be punished for her appearance.
In the second part of this passage, Thoreau talks about how we should resist the government. He says that many of us serve the state with our consciences, but few of us resist. In his passage, he states that “we should not be enslaved by the state.” But he does say that the state should be free to choose between various alternatives. Those who do not want to be slaves should fight the government.
Despite all this, Thoreau also uses allusions to make his point. In this passage, he says that few people serve the state with their conscience. The majority rule in some cases would be just, but it would be unjust for others. In contrast, it violates the conscience of some. This passage is a critique of representative democracy and is a useful tool in examining the power of the state in society.
Moreover, he also uses logos in this passage to argue against the government. He writes that the government should not be allowed to impose its will on the people. This is a clear violation of human rights. The state should be held accountable for its actions and the citizens should not be harmed. Thus, in this passage, the government should be forced to stop harming the people.
In addition to arguing for the rights of others, Thoreau criticizes representative democracy. He writes that majority rule cannot be based on justice. Furthermore, majority rule is not desirable as it is unfair to the minority. Hence, it is a dangerous political system. A democracy can only be just if there is no majority. In this passage, the government is the majority, which is opposed to people.