William Bradford And Emerson's Importance Of Nature

1050 Words 5 Pages
Title of My Paper
American writers are continually influenced by nature, and they attempt to understand what natures means to them and the American people. In the 1600s, Puritans like William Bradford believe nature – the woods – was an unknown filled with the Devil. Nature to them did not represent God in a positive, but instead nature was the Devil’s territory that God created to punish them. This view changed by 1800s as Enlightenment philosophy grew. Transcendentalist writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson see nature as a way to connect with God. Transcendentalists also believe everyone has access to virtue unlike Puritans would belief only the elect get to go to heaven. Bradford and Emerson would disagree with the importance of nature in the
…show more content…
To Emerson, “man is made the Providence to himself,” and a man’s actions and his personal relationship with God are what allow him to receive virtue. Emerson believes “to believe what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men, – that is genius” (Emerson 269). He believes what is inside a man and what his personal beliefs are is more important than a man always believing what everyone else is telling him to belief. However, man “dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his” (Emerson 269). This action frustrates Emerson because he wants man to belief in his thoughts because to him, that is God speaking through man’s …show more content…
Bradford fears nature while Emerson praises nature. Bradford believes only a select few get to receive virtue and church is a vital part of a man’s relationship with God while Emerson believes everyone gets to experience virtue and church is not the most important part of a man’s relationship with God. Their different beliefs reflect what is going on during their time periods. Bradford writes during a time when people still trust institutions and rely on the institutions to help them control their lives. Emerson writes during a time when people begin to see the bad effects of institutions through industrialization and the runs on the American banks. During the 1600s, people need to trust their institutions because it is all they have as they come to the New World, and by the 1800s, they no longer need institutions and the people in charge of the institutions controlling all aspects of their life. People have the ability to decide what to believe for themselves rather than always trusting what others tell

Related Documents