Essay on Emerson 's Nature And Self Reliance

1393 Words Dec 16th, 2015 6 Pages
Emerson’s Nature and Self-Reliance, published in 1836 and 1841 respectively, were two important pieces of American literature that marked the beginning of Transcendentalism. Considering the historical context, Nature more directly echoed the Second Great Awakening, a religious movement that granted individuals the freedom of connecting with the divine. Self-Reliance was, in addition, a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. He worried that the factories might take away the individuality of the workers and replace it with order and uniformity. Emerson’s philosophy was his teaching to the individuals who lived in the nineteenth century America, a place in time of “new lands, new men, new thoughts” that at times fostered and at times challenged democracy, about how to live the life of a “Great men” through practicing free will and adhering to the same principle of democracy and liberty that the nation is founded on. Ideologically, Nature and Self-Reliance both argued for individuality over conformity. Of these two, Nature came first and was more philosophical, presenting a “philosophy of insight and not of tradition.” Emerson advocated for a new philosophy which relied upon one’s own exploration to seek the truth and divinity. He said that “every man’s condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put.” The answer to the philosophical questions according to him were encrypted in everyone’s own experience, which meant that everyone had…

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