Thomas Paine : The Enlightenment And Transcendentalist Periods

1491 Words Dec 1st, 2016 6 Pages
In the 1700’s to the early 1820’s, America is in a disposition of “I think”; however, towards the end of the 1820’s to the late 1830’s, the disposition of Americans change to “I am”. These movements are known as the Enlightenment and Transcendentalist periods. Both pose distinctive outlooks on how the American people should dwell within a society. Despite the differences in their ideology, a mutual understanding can be found when discussing the chastity of one’s mind. The Enlightenment intellectual, Thomas Paine, conveys the effect of prostituting the chastity of one’s mind, and the Transcendentalist philosopher, Henry Thoreau, stresses the importance of preserving the chastity of the mind. Although, one expresses the consequences of violating the chastity of the mind and the other cautions readers not to lose it, both can agree that keeping the chastity of the mind is important.
Thomas Paine, as an Enlightenment advocate, communicates a philosophy not socially acceptable in his time. In his prose, he says, “It has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion. I am well aware of the difficulties that attend the subject” (1). He knows and understands the seriousness of what he is writing, yet he eloquently presents his opinions in his prose known as The Age of Reason. This is why his statement concerning the purity of one’s mind is so effective. When he writes about the chastity of the mind, he is not only stressing the point of…

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