THOREAU AND THE DESIGN OF DISSENT1 KRIS FRESONKE Iowa State University My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity; nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock.... Walden, "Sounds" The nation may go their way to their manifest destiny which I trust is not mine. Journal, 1853 enry Thoreau, of indifferent beliefs but never downright irreligious, Hmentions "God" hundreds of times in his major works and journals; perpetually disappointed by the Democrats, he was given to sounding like a Jacksonian. While hostile to the Democratic Party, he was schooled in the same religious rhetoric that had prompted Timothy O'Sullivan, in the Democratic Review, to praise the American continent as the gift of God's providence. Thoreau, like O'Sullivan, looked to nature for confirmation of design and found it; but unlike O'Sullivan, Thoreau was uneasy, because it suggested that the best challenges to contemporary politics were to be made from a position of orthodoxy. Not just any orthodoxy: Thoreau, after all, reserved his greatest hatred for the habits of mind that resorted, from promiscuity or malice, to foolish consistency. And nature itself seemed, at times, foolishly eager
Religion and the Arts – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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