American Transcendentalism

Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau

The Belief of Transcendentalism

"A movement in 19th Century American literature and thought. It called on people to view the objects in the world as small versions of the whole universe and to trust their individual intuitions."

"The Definition of Transcendentalism." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Important Followers of The Transcendentalism Movement

Henry David Thoreau

"Henry David Thoreau was born July 12,1817 to John and Cynthia Thoreau,"in Concord,Massachusetts,a small town near Boston",in which he lived most his life.Thoreau worked in the successful pencil factory his father owned for a big chunk of his life."Thoreau's mother and eight sisters were all ardent abolitionist",although not as famous as Thoreau.

Thoreau lived through the historical events of the "Fugitive slave law being passed,which in protest he hid escaping slaves in his concord home"."Thoreau also witnessed the era of John Brown and later wrote "A plea for John Brown",in his defense".

Henry David Thoreau made his mark on history through his writing.He wrote a book called Walden's pond,which was a modern success and boosted is career as a writer.He also wrote civil disobedience after spending a night in jail because of his refusal to pay poll taxes in protest of slavery and the Mexican-American war.This book influenced future great activist like Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Thoreau goes down in history as a day in age transcendentalist and a hardworking abolitionist.


"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with the song still in them"

"Live the life you have imagined"

"Every walk is kind of a crusade preached by some Peter the hermit in us,to go forth and reconquer this holy land from the hands of the infidels"

"The language of friendship is not words but meanings"

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving

-Henry David Thoreau


Thoreau met Emerson when he was giving a speech at Harvard,Where Thoreau attended.Thoreau knew of the great philosopher and cornered him at the end of the speech to ask him questions.The duo become great friends,Emerson taking the aspiring transcendentalists under his wing and mentoring him.Emerson even did the eulogy at Thoreau's funeral.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25th, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. He's the 3rd and 4th son of Ruth Haskins and Rev. William Emerson. Waldo became one of the best writers in American history in the 19th Century. He believed in divinity pervades all nature and humanity, Also known as Transcendentalism.

Emerson traveled to Europe and met famous writers such as George Putnam. Emerson was considered to start the Transcendentalism Club. Waldo wrote many famous poems such as, "Threnody, Brahma, The Problem, The Rhodora, The Concord Hymn"


Ralph Waldo:

"Ralph Waldo Emerson." A&E Networks Television,n.d.Web19 Apr.2016

"A Rare, Extravagant Spirit." Ralph Waldo Emerson. Donald Yannella.Boston:Twayne Publishers,1982.1-18.Twayne's United States Authors Series 414. Twayne's Authors on GURL.Web.21 Apr.2016.

"Emerson, Ralph Waldo." The Colombia Electronic EncyclopediaTM. New York:Colombia Univerity Press, 2016. Research in context.Web.20 Apr.2016


Henry David Thoreau

"Henry David Thoreau." Political Theories for Students. Ed. Matthew Miskelly and Jaime Noce. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Student Resources in Context. Web. 6 May 2016.

"The Thoreau Society." Gale Student Resources in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Student Resources in Context. Web. 6 May 2016.

"Thoreau, Henry David." UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History. Sonia Benson, Daniel E. Brannen, Jr., and Rebecca Valentine. Vol. 8. Detroit: UXL, 2009. 1556-1559. Student Resources in Context. Web. 6 May 2016.

"Henry David Thoreau." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Student Resources in Context. Web. 6 May 2016.