A family recipe, a childhood memory, a Depression-era handout
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Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. He was an American writer, philosopher, abolitionist, and tax resister. In 1845 Thoreau built a small home on Walden Pond. He lived there close to nature for more than two years and recounted his experience in his book Walden: or, Life in the Woods, published in 1854. Thoreau died of tuberculosis in 1862.
I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.
I heartily accept the motto, “That 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 believe — “That government is best which governs not at all” — and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they 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.