Emerson uses several words that are not in common use today. You'll find the definitions of those words by simply clicking on them they are underlined. Self-Reliance was a revelation in its day and it is completely relevant today. If you have trouble understanding what Ralph Waldo Emerson has written, read this first:
Origins and Character What we now know as transcendentalism first arose among the liberal New England Congregationalists, who departed from orthodox Calvinism in two respects: Most of the Unitarians held that Jesus American transcendentalists essay in some way inferior to God the Father but still greater than human beings; a few followed the English Unitarian Joseph Priestley — in holding that Jesus was thoroughly human, although endowed with special authority.
It was precisely on this ground, however, that the transcendentalists found fault with Unitarianism. Skepticism about religion was also engendered by the publication of an English translation of F. Lukewhich introduced the idea that the Bible was a product of human history and culture.
Herder blurred the lines between religious texts and humanly-produced poetry, casting doubt on the authority of the Bible, but also suggesting that texts with equal authority could still be written. It was against this background that Emerson asked inin the first paragraph of Nature: Hedge American transcendentalists essay what eventually became known as the Transcendental Club, by suggesting to Emerson in that they form a discussion group for disaffected young Unitarian clergy.
She finds an attractive contrast in the German tradition that begins with Leibniz and culminates in Kant, which asserts the power and authority of the mind. James Marsh —a graduate of Andover and the president of the University of Vermont, was equally important for the emerging philosophy of transcendentalism.
Marsh was convinced that German philosophy held the key to a reformed theology. In Nature, for example, Emerson writes: German philosophy and literature was also championed by Thomas Carlyle, whom Emerson met on his first trip to Europe in Piety towards nature was also a main theme of William Wordsworth, whose poetry was in vogue in America in the s.
I am nothing; I see all; The currents of the universal being circulate through me.
Emerson rejects the Unitarian argument that miracles prove the truth of Christianity, not simply because the evidence is weak, but because proof of the sort they envision embodies a mistaken view of the nature of religion: Alcott replaced the hard benches of the common schools with more comfortable furniture that he built himself, and left a central space in his classrooms for dancing.
Theodore Parker —60 was the son of a farmer who attended Harvard and became a Unitarian minister and accomplished linguist.
Parker exploited the similarities between science and religious doctrine to argue that although nature and religious truth are permanent, any merely human version of such truth is transient.
It is not a skeptical idealism, however, but an anti-skeptical idealism deriving from Kant: It is well known to most of my audience, that the Idealism of the present day acquired the name of Transcendental, from the use of that term by Immanuel Kant, of Konigsberg [sic], who replied to the skeptical philosophy of Locke, which insisted that there was nothing in the intellect which was not previously in the experience of the senses, by showing that there was a very important class of ideas, or imperative forms, which did not come by experience, but through which experience was acquired; that these were intuitions of the mind itself; and he denominated them Transcendental forms O, —2.
Emerson shows here a basic understanding of three Kantian claims, which can be traced throughout his philosophy: The Dial, Fuller, Thoreau The transcendentalists had several publishing outlets: The Dial —4 was a special case, for it was planned and instituted by the members of the Transcendental Club, with Margaret Fuller —50 as the first editor.
Margaret Fuller was the daughter of a Massachusetts congressman who provided tutors for her in Latin, Greek, chemistry, philosophy and, later, German. Fuller abandoned her previously ornate and pretentious style, issuing pithy reviews and forthright criticisms: Fuller was in Europe from —9, sending back hundreds of pages for the Tribune.
On her return to America with her husband and son, she drowned in a hurricane off the coast of Fire Island, New York. Women are treated as dependents, however, and their self-reliant impulses are often held against them.
What they most want, Fuller maintains, is the freedom to unfold their powers, a freedom necessary not only for their self-development, but for the renovation of society.
Such individuality is necessary in particular for the proper constitution of that form of society known as marriage.
He also wrote a first draft of Walden, which eventually appeared in Nature now becomes particular: From the right perspective, Thoreau finds, he can possess and use a farm with more satisfaction than the farmer, who is preoccupied with feeding his family and expanding his operations.This book by Robert Richardson is a top-class biography of one of the most important philosophers.
It describes Thoreau's life starting from (the year he graduated) up until his last day. Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late s and s in the eastern United States.
It arose as a reaction to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time. The doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School was of particular interest.. Transcendentalism emerged from "English and German Romanticism.
On the most basic level, Transcendentalism represented a new way of understanding truth and knowledge. The roots of the philosophy go back to Germany, specifically the . AMERICAN TRANSCENDENTALISM: AN INDIGENOUS CULTURE OF CRITIQUE American Transcendentalism A History Philip F.
Gura New York: Hill and Wang, Reviewed by Kevin MacDonald The Occidental Quarterly 8(2), , Summer, Transcendentalism Essay In its –46 heyday, the New England–based religious, intellectual, and social movement known as transcendentalism fostered a truly American literature and inspired important social reforms, including abolition of slavery and new roles for women.
Henry David Thoreau, (born July 12, , Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.—died May 6, , Concord), American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher, renowned for having lived the doctrines of Transcendentalism as recorded in his masterwork, Walden (), and for having been a vigorous advocate of civil liberties, as evidenced in the essay “Civil Disobedience” ().