Topics: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism Pages: 2 (553 words) Published: February 19, 2014

“When Nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.” This is a quote from one of the most famous transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Transcendentalism was a movement in the 19th century. It was a religious and philosophical movement the focused on self-reliance and the nature around us. Some of the main philosophers in the movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson who is known for his book Nature, Henry David Thoreau with his book Walden, and also Margaret Fuller who wrote Women in the Nineteenth Century. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are the most influential philosophers from transcendentalism, many of their ideas are still used in modern day transcendentalism. Transcendentalism started in New England during the first half of the 19th century. It started as a religious movement but later became an entire philosophy. Transcendentalists apposed the Calvinist idea of predestination. They also believed in the unity rather than the Trinity of God. Transcendentalism ideals are composed of Hindu texts, and various religions. It became a major cultural movement with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s publishing of “Nature” in 1836. A year later he wrote his speech “The American Scholar” which closed by calling for a revolution of the human consciousness to form a new idealist philosophy. By the 1840’s Emerson believed the movement was dying out, until a second wave of scholars came, which included Henry David Thoreau. Henry David Thoreau was the most influential philosopher to come from transcendentalism; his philosophies are still used today. He was an abolitionist. He was part of the Underground Railroad. He is often described as an anarchist because of his belief in individualism, and government should be limited. Thoreau believed non-violent protests were more effective than riots; this was the thought behind civil disobedience. This idea has been used by multiple political leaders; leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi in India, Leo Tolstoy in Russia, and...
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