Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. He began writing nature poetry in the 1840s, with poet Ralph Waldo Emerson as a mentor and friend. In 1845 he began his famous two-year stay on Walden Pond, which he wrote about in his master work, Walden. He also became known for his beliefs in Transcendentalism and civil disobedience, and was a dedicated abolitionist.
"Henry David Thoreau" was an American author, poet, philosopher, Abolitionism in the United States/abolitionist, Natural history/naturalist, tax resistance/tax resister, development criticism/development critic, surveying/surveyor, and historian. A leading Transcendentalism/transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.
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While living at Walden Pond, Thoreau also had an encounter with the law. He spent a night in jail after refusing to pay a poll tax. This experience led him to write one of his best-known and most influential essays, "Civil Disobedience" (also known as "Resistance to Civil Government"). Thoreau held deeply felt political views, opposing slavery and the Mexican-American War. He made a strong case for acting on one's individual conscience and not blindly following laws and government policy. "The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right," he wrote.