Romanticism & Civil Disobedience

Akiuk High School

Examples & Details

  • Idealism- the belief that reality is not "out there" in material objects, but that reality is our ideas about things. My example of idealism is that a family is people who support each other, make each other feel valuable and that each cares about the other.
  • Individualism- the belief that the freedom of the individuals "act out their heart" is more important than any government. Individualism makes me think of Thoreau because he did not want to be supporting the government and paying taxes, which led him to be imprisoned.
  • Optimism- the belief that good must win over evil. Hopefulness and confidence about the future. An example of optimism is Gandhi and Mandela. In my thought these two men were more optimistic about things. They believed that the outcome of their march would be successful.
  • Nature- the occurrence of the physical world all together, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features of the earth. Thoreau's career was based on nature as well as the conduct of life, Thoreau is my example.

Response To Each Concept

I think that idealism in the the Romantic Era played a huge role. It led all three leaders we learned about: Gandhi, Mandela and Thoreau to come up with crazy ideas that were not realistic. In terms of agreeing for disagreeing, I would have to agree with the concept. I think that idealism or an idealist, is a person who thinks reality is not out there. I believe that all three leaders were idealists whom all found ways to succeed in the end. I agree with idealism. If I lived in the time of the Romantic Era, I can see myself start to think outside of reality, things that do not even seem to exist. I think that idealism affected the American culture in ways that made people not want to go with reality but to come up with their own ideas about things such as thinking of a family as people who support each other and make each other feel valuable, as opposed to a non-idealist who thinks that a family is just parents and their offspring.


If I lived in time of the Romantic Era and I faced problems like all three leaders, I would want to be an individualist. All three leaders faced corrupted governments and they fought until the end to make it better. I would not want to be living everyday being forced to do anything I didn't want to do. "I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men" is a quote by Henry David Thoreau that I agreed with. It says that he has never heard of anyone being forced to live in a way. I agree that each leader did an excellent job to become individualists when things with their governments were not going the right way. I want to connect this concept to one of the political parties today and that is the Independents. Individualists and Independents think of themselves, to be on their own. Although, Independents are still a part of the government, while individualists did not want any part in the government. I'd say that in some way individualism affected how people think of the government making Independents not sign up for a Democrat or a Republican.


I believe that optimism shaped the world since the beginning. I also believe that it gave the world a whole new feeling about things because if it did not, then people would always be thinking negatively. The definition of optimism changed over time. In the time of the Romantic Era, they thought of it as good winning over evil. Today, we think of it as hopefulness and confidence in the future. I like to think of myself as an optimist, in a way that gives me hope for the future.


When I think of nature, it makes me think of one man only and that is Henry David Thoreau. I find Henry David Thoreau to be such an inspirational man because I wish that I can live in the wild observing nature just like he did. This concept is related to the term transcendentalism which was a belief that God was a part of everyone and nature. I agree that Henry David Thoreau's belief in transcendentalism and his career based on observing nature, made him want to become independent and not want to be part of the government. According to cliffnotes.com, Thoreau's book named "Walden" has become a required reading in literature in most colleges. I find that to be a huge affection in the American culture today, because this book was written 200 hundred years ago and is still being read by students who are furthering their education in college.

Responses and Analysis of Leaders

Henry David Thoreau and Nelson Mandela

Henry David Thoreau

“The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right.” I found your quote to be very true. I think that it is a good idea that a person goes with their intuition, and not just with what the law says. Doing so, a person may be punished for not following the law, but that doesn’t stop the person from continuing to do what is right for them.

“I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men.”

I also agreed with the above quote, which connects with how people should do whatever they think is right. There are a lot of things that I agreed with in your essay, including what I just mentioned above. I also agreed that “government is best which governs least” but I do not hate the government, I just have mixed emotions about government. Sometimes I can like the government and sometimes I don’t like it. Your ideas about the government in your time sound just about right, that a single man can abuse power, governments are usually inefficient and that the people taught the government instead of the government teaching the people. I believe that if i lived in the time of the Romantic Era, I would be following the principle of transcendentalism.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela and his people fought to bring an end to apartheid. Apartheid was the segregation and discrimination of black people in Africa that were forced to live in poor rural areas. Mandela's fight against apartheid was a success after many years and a lot of good things came with it. A lot of black people were able to vote, get better jobs, move to better places and blacks being able to go to school with everyone else. I did not realize how much Mandela was fighting for not only for him but his people. When I think about this I say to myself, "Dang Mandela." I just wished that on his journey Mandela did't have to use violence to gain what he wanted, but I understand that his nonviolence acts were not enough to get what he wanted. In this section, Mandela was my favorite despite his violent actions. He was the only person out of all three that used violent actions.

Analysis of Each Leader Conclusion

Since Thoreau was the only American in this Era, I think that he would find all the wars the US was involved in after his time. I say this because he said that the Mexican-American war was imperialistic. I think that he would find this unjust in a way that would make not support the American Government. Sending all the troops to other countries to fight for our country, I think Thoreau would not have agreed with that and on top of that, not support it. Since all three leaders, Mandela, Thoreau and Gandhi, all despised their governments for being unfair, I think that anything bad and unfair about the government would them all think about the government as unjust and not sit around but do something to fix and make it right for everyone. In terms of similarities and differences, there are several of them we were able to identify. Mandela, Thoreau and Gandhi like I have been saying, stood up against their governments to make things right and that is a similarity. Thoreau and Gandhi both used nonviolent actions against their governments, while Mandela used both violence and nonviolence. Of course, all three were from different countries, US, Africa and India which can be the major difference. I found Mandela to be the most effective because of his acts of both violence and nonviolence. I think that he was the one that fought his best to gain freedom for his people and country. By what we saw and learned in class, it sounded like he had a lot of protestors with him, so that is also part of my reason. I am sure that each had impacted a lot of people and still do today. Thoreau's work today have become required readings in college for students furthering their education in literature. As for Mandela, he impacted people by making them become people that want to change lives. Kevin Powell, according to abcnews.go.com, has been impacted by Mandela. His career in the first place, focused on race issues and later became an activist, embracing the lives and challenges of people no matter their race, gender, religion and ability. As for Gandhi's impact, Indians, protestors against war and many writers have been influenced by his quotes, celebrating him as an important figure. It is also said by livescience.com that Martin Luther King Jr has been heavily influenced by Gandhi's philosophy of non-violent protest. Martin believed it was the only way to approach race issues in America. All three leaders have truly impacted and influenced people all over the globe.