Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph's speech at his surrender to the United States government is a relatively hard thing to compare to Transcendentalism. As was mentioned in a previous blog, it is a very difficult thing to compare a philosophy to a speech because the speech gives the person doing the comparing so little to work with in comparison to everything crammed into an entire philosophy. Even with such difficulties present, it is clear that Chief Joseph shared an appreciation for freedom with the Transcendentalist authors Emerson and Thoreau.

Chief Joseph led his group of followers all the way from Oregon to Montana, a journey of over one thousand miles, in attempt to escape from the United States government. He did not think that the government would take good care of his people, and on top of that he wanted to be free from a government that had no reason to respect. He wanted freedom. This is very similar to Thoreau's thoughts about how government should work. He believed that a person shouuld be able to choose not to be governed by other people if they should want to or think it was the right thing to do. Thoreau even went to jail once because he would not pay a tax to the American government.

The way Chief Joseph writes about his people shows that he really cares about them a great deal, and that he was willing to try escaping to Canada to ensure they had their freedom really is a good example of that. A person can not help but to feel a great deal of sympathy for him because he tried so hard to give his people the freedom they deserve, but still had to give up in the end. Half of his tribe died on the attempted journey to Canada, and Chief Joseph's speech is terribly sad because of it. He made a great sacrifice in trying to gain freedom, but he was still unable to accomplish his goal.

Chief Joseph. "Chief Joseph." Welcome to Georgia State University. Web. 01 Mar. 2012. .

Thoreau, Henry. "Thoreau's Civil Disobedience - 1." The Thoreau Reader. Web. 25
Jan. 2012.

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