Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. He spent time as a school teacher after attending Harvard College but was dismissed for his refusal to administer corporal punishment. In 1845, wanting to write his first book, he moved to Walden Pond and built his cabin on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was during his time at Walden that Thoreau was imprisoned briefly for not paying taxes; this experience became the basis for his well-known essay "Civil Disobedience." He died of tuberculosis in 1862 at the age of 44.
'Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practise in himself. ... He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable.' Mohandas Gandhi
'I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.' Martin Luther King, Jr