Transcendentalism: Ralph waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau

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Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote it and Henry David Thoreau lived it. Transcendentalism was a religious and philosophical movement developed approximately in the 1820s and 1830s. It began in the northeastern part of the United States. According to Paul Reuben, the movement began as a protest against spirituality and the intellectualism brought from England to the United States (Reuben). The movement’s core beliefs can be inferred in a single line, infixed good found in nature and people. They fought against the only two big institutions that influenced society in that time, the government and religion; which were said to pervert individuals. As Reuben proposed, the roots for transcendentalism come from several past movements, amongst which …show more content…
Interestingly, Emerson wrote thousands of essays and poems criticizing how human nature had been fragmented as time went by and the way humans liked to repeat history and thus its problems. By transcendentalism he tries to provide a door for people who are willing to make a change to try it for themselves. However, personally he didn’t believe this, rather the contrary, his beliefs were meant for himself and his search of becoming a better person. Emerson thought that every individual needed to find his or her own method. His main argument was that “all ideas should be tested by individuals” (Heitman 34). It is interesting of him to suggest that one should test all ideas, when he didn’t really experiment on many of his own ideas. Emerson believed strongly that one must live in harmony with nature; moreover, as Daniel Payne says, Emerson believed that man and nature was one and the same thing (Payne 192). There were three key factors that Emerson thought had great importance: life’s simplicity, the value we place on things and our soul, and what an important task our imagination plays in order to achieve these three goals (Payne 198). He had confidence on the simplicity in life, which meant to detach from emotional and material things; let go of our past. His second belief in reducing the value we place on things ties to

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