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Walden and Civil Disobedience are seminal works by Henry David Thoreau. While Walden is a collection of his reflections on life and society, Civil Disobedience is Thoreau's protest against the government's interference with civil liberty. Both have inspired many to embrace the author's stated philosophy of individualism and love of nature. These two symbolic actions -- Thoreau's two years in the cabin at Walden Pond and his night in jail for civil disobedience -- represent his personal enactment of the then prevailing doctrines.
Thoreau established the tradition of nature writing and his pioneer study of the human uses of nature deeply influenced many conservationists. Finding the meaning of life is the main idea of Walden in which he embarks upon contemplating life and himself and finding out man's role in the world. In Civil Disobedience, the author espouses the need to prioritize one's conscience over the dictates of laws and criticizes American social institutions and policies such as slavery and the Mexican-American War.