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That left Emerson as the public face of Transcendentalism. Few Transcendentalists, however, were involved in the growing disputes between labor and capital, the reformation of asylums and penitentiaries, or other matters on a reformist agenda. By the s, the uneasy balance between the self and society that had characterized the antebellum phase of the Transcendental movement tipped irrevocably in the direction of the self.

The intellectual power of Transcendentalists was directed toward individual rights and, implicitly, market capitalism, not humanitarian reform. It was left to others to promulgate a religion, the Social Gospel, that reached out to the poor and forgotten. With more hindsight, however, one might argue differently.

He speaks of the Oversoul in in the essay by that name. Lathrop, , 3. Deese, ed.


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Rusk and Eleanor M. Tilton, Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson , 10 vols.

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William H. Gilman, et al. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, — , — Frances Power Cobbe, 12 vols. Philip F. Add comment Login to post comments. It is not something else to be got , to be added , but is new life of those faculties you have.


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It is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble. July 14, The hour of decision. It seems not worth while for them who charge others with exalting forms above the moon to fear forms themselves with extravagant dislike. Let me not bury my talent in the earth in my indignation at this windmill.

Far be it from any of my friends - God forbid it to be in my heart - to interrupt any occasion thus blessed of God's influence upon the human mind. I will not, because we may not all think alike of the means, fight so strenuously against the means, as to miss the end which we all value alike. I think Jesus did not mean to institute a perpetual celebration, but that a commemoration of him would be useful. Others think that Jesus did establish this one. The most desperate of scoundrels have been the over refiners.

Emerson referred to nature as the "Universal Being"; he believed that there was a spiritual sense of the natural world around him. Depicting this sense of "Universal Being", Emerson states, "The aspect of nature is devout. Like the figure of Jesus, she stands with bended head, and hands folded upon the breast.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship". According to Emerson, there were three spiritual problems addressed about nature for humans to solve: "What is matter? Whence is it? And Whereto?

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Matter is a phenomenon, not a substance; rather, nature is something that is experienced by humans, and grows with humans' emotions. Whence is it and Whereto?

Such questions can be answered with a single answer, nature's spirit is expressed through humans, "Therefore, that spirit, that is, the Supreme Being, does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us", states Emerson. Nature was controversial to some. One review published in January criticized the philosophies in Nature and disparagingly referred to beliefs as "Transcendentalist", coining the term by which the group would become known.

It eventually became an essential influence for Thoreau's later writings, including his seminal Walden.

Ralph Waldo Emerson biography - Transcendentalism

In fact, Thoreau wrote Walden after living in a cabin on land that Emerson owned. Their longstanding acquaintance offered Thoreau great encouragement in pursuing his desire to be a published author. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Boston: James Munroe and Company.