Visions of America: Antebellum Period Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
But sometimes it was a really noble and inspiring strain that reached these woods, and the trumpet that sings of fame, and I felt as if I could spit a Mexican with a good relish – for should we always stand for trifles? – and looked round for a woodchuck or a skunk to exercise my chivalry upon. (Bean-Field.9)
This is one of Thoreau's silly moments. In reality, he was opposed to the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.
One afternoon, near the end of the first summer, when I went to the village to get a shoe from the cobbler's, I was seized and put into jail, because, as I have elsewhere related, I did not pay a tax to, or recognize the authority of, the state which buys and sells men, women, and children, like cattle at the door of its senatehouse. (Village.3)
Thoreau relates here an incident where he was arrested for not paying his taxes, which he viewed as an act of protest against the government. He goes into this incident in more detail in the very famous essay "Civil Disobedience."
With his horizon all his own, yet he a poor man, born to be poor, with his inherited Irish poverty or poor life, his Adam's grandmother and boggy ways, not to rise in this world, he nor his posterity, till their wading webbed bog-trotting feet get talaria to their heels. (Baker Farm.9)
In the 19th century, there was a surge of Irish immigrants who were fleeing the potato famine in Ireland. Unfortunately, for an otherwise pretty enlightened guy, Thoreau seems to stick to stereotypical representations of the Irish as unintelligent.