Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mark Wagner Period 1

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a famous author and poet during the mid- to late 1800's. He is very widely regarded as the father of the transcendentalist movement. He used his writings as a way of showing what the movement was about and to attract others to the movement.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson is the embodiment of Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience". His new ages ways of thinking ushered in a new era of American ways of thinking and challenged belief deeply held by many Americans. Thoreau says that many men spend their live acquiring accolades while, "A very few- as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men- serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it"(Civil Disobedience). Emerson wrote his poems and books with no fear how others would view him after reading it. He was heavily criticized for many of his ideas but in the end he ended up as one of the few kinds of people Thoreau identifies as good. Thoreau's ideas in "Civil Disobedience" are further carried out by Emerson when Thoreau states, "There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly"(Civil Disobedience). Much of Emerson's work is devoted to finding the value of one's own self and finding it's connection with the surrounding nature. This idea that the individual is powerful and has worth perfectly mirrors what Thoreau is saying through his passage. Ralph Waldo Emerson shared many ideas with Thoreau and this fact contributes to the fact that Emerson fits Thoreau's definition of civil disobedience perfectly.