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Scholars often credit Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) with the origin of the term civil disobedience in his essay of the same name, which he wrote after spending a night in jail in 1846 for refusing to pay the Massachusetts poll tax. As a concept in political theory, civil disobedience has defied definitional precision. Writers frequently use conscientious evasion, conscientious refusal, nonviolent resistance, pacifism, and passive resistance to convey ideas similar to civil disobedience. David Daube (1909–1999) argued that civil disobedience is “an offense against human authority, committed openly in a higher cause, or a cause thought to be higher” (1972: 1). John Rawls (1921–2002) endeavored to constitutionally theorize civil disobedience by defining it as “a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually ...

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