I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor. Of all ebriosity who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?"
Social and political influence
Thoreau's political writings had little impact during his lifetime as "his contemporaries did not see him as a theorist or as a radical viewing him instead as a naturalist. A legend proposes that Thoreau refused to pay the five-dollar fee for a Harvard diploma.
Thoreau's books articles essays journals and poetry total over 20 volumes. His literary style interweaves close natural observation personal experience pointed rhetoric symbolic meanings and historical lore while displaying a poetic sensibility philosophical austerity and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He is best known for his book Walden a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings and his essay Civil Disobedience an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.