He goes on to describe details about his stay in the jail and the treatment meted out to a person by the state as if he is only a physical entity and not an intellectual individual. Thoreau calls on his fellow citizens to withdraw their support from the government of Massachusetts and risk being thrown in prison for their resistance.
He presents his own experiences as a model for how to relate to an unjust government: In protest of slavery, Thoreau refused to pay taxes and spent a night in jail. In fact, the practice of slavery in the United States is the single most hypocritical aspect of the government as far as Thoreau is concerned.
Abolitionistsin Thoreau's opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxeseven if this means courting imprisonment, or even violence.
Along these lines, Thoreau does not advocate a wholesale rejection of government, but resistance to those specific features deemed to be unjust or immoral. He believed that if the government fails to improve, people should not support it.
In the progression from absolute monarchy to limited monarchy to democracy, Thoreau observes an evolution in government toward greater expression of the consent of the governed.
Another act, and one he deems more important still, is to avoid colluding with the government by refusing to play an active role in it.