Henry David Thoreau was born (1817), died, and lived most of his life in Concord Massachusetts, where the American Revolution against British colonial rule began. Educated at Harvard, Thoreau was an avid reader – in five languages- of everything from classical literature and Hindu and Chinese philosophy through narratives of travel and early American settlement, to works on the flora and fauna of his native region. Taking an active part in current political and ethical debates, Thoreau became a courageous, outspoken opponent of federal government policies, such as the expansionist war against Mexico and the refusal of Congress to legislate against southern slavery. Though he loved books about discovery and travel, Thoreau wandered neither frequently nor over a great distance. Thoreau kept a journal of his thoughts and observations exceeding two million words by the end of his life. He died, in Concord, in 1862.