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Henry David Thoreau Quotes

45 of the best book quotes from Henry David Thoreau
  1. #1
    “In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.”
  2. #2
    “How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”
  3. #3
    “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.”
  4. #4
    “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.”
  5. #5
    “The practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it.”
  6. #6
    “If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself.”
  7. #7
    “Oh for a man who is a man, and, as my neighbor says, has a bone in his back which you cannot pass your hand through!”
  8. #8
    “The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.”
  9. #9
    “A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should do something wrong.”
  1. #10
    “What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”
  2. #11
    “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”
  3. #12
    “Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”
  4. #13
    “Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.”
  5. #14
    “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.”
  6. #15
    “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator?”
  7. #16
    “Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”
  8. #17
    “Unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”
  9. #18
    “He who gives himself entirely to his fellow-men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them is pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.”

Books about nature

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The Secret Garden book
Chapter book
6.9
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The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth book
Picture book
6.8
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Some Bugs book
Board book
6.3
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Every Color of Light: A Book about the Sky book
Picture book
6.3
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Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet book
Board book
6.1
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Jane Foster's ABC book
Board book
6.0
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Mrs. Peanuckle's Bird Alphabet book
Board book
6.0
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When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree book
Picture book
6.0
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  1. #19
    “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.”
  2. #20
    “It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support.”
  3. #21
    “However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
  4. #22
    “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
  5. #23
    “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
  6. #24
    “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
  7. #25
    “In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.”
  8. #26
    “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
  9. #27
    “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
  1. #28
    “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
  2. #29
    “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
  3. #30
    “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
  4. #31
    “We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
  5. #32
    “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
  6. #33
    “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
  7. #34
    “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
  8. #35
    “For my greatest skill has been to want but little.”
  9. #36
    “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

Books about respect

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Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears book
Picture book
5.4
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I Promise book
Picture book
5.2
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Grape! book
Chapter book
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I Love You, Elephant! book
Board book
5.0
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The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin book
Picture book
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The Way I Act book
Picture book
4.0
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My Name Is Elizabeth! book
Picture book
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Saving Marty book
Chapter book
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  1. #37
    “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
  2. #38
    “I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.”
  3. #39
    “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
  4. #40
    “Things do not change; we change.”
  5. #41
    “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
  6. #42
    “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
  7. #43
    “Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.”
  8. #44
    “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
  9. #45
    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
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