Study Guide

Henry David Thoreau Death

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Walden was published in 1854. The book was a success, earning Thoreau praise and followers. Thoreau continued to speak out on the things that he felt passionate about. In October 1859, the abolitionist zealot John Brown led a raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in the hopes of sparking a slave rebellion. The rebellion was quashed and Brown was imprisoned and later hanged. Thoreau wrote both a speech and an essay supporting Brown, despite the fact that the raid had been largely unpopular. That was just Thoreau. "No opposition or ridicule had any weight with him," Emerson wrote. "He coldly and fully stated his opinion without affecting to believe that it was the opinion of the company. It was of no consequence, if every one present held the opposite opinion."

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