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Development of Transcendentalism Essay

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Our country observes non-violent protest every day, whether it be through strikes, meetings, or marches. Many of these demonstrations have proved to be effective, and have gained respect over time. However, while philosophies of civil dispute and nonviolence may seem like a well-accepted idea today, many who fought for this type of negotiation were often considered radical for their introduction of it to society. Among those transcendentalists was Henry David Thoreau, who wrote “Civil Disobedience”, Mohandas Gandhi, who wrote “Satyagraha”, and Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote “Letters from Birmingham Jail”. Henry David Thoreau used the theory of transcendentalism in “Civil Disobedience.” These three transcendentalists influenced the world’s belief in civil disobedience today.
Now, the real question is what is transcendentalism? Transcendentalism is the idea that we connect or find ourselves through nature while having a positive outlook on the world. A transcendentalist would be: optimistic, have a connection to nature, express ones individual experience, be self-reliant, and commit to non-conformity. Thoreau, Gandhi, and King all had these qualities. “Thoreau, Gandhi, and King are “heroes to us today, because they represent those individual consciences of the world which, as opposed to the mass mind, best represent the universal conscience of mankind”” (Carton1). The one man that sticks out of the group of 3 is Thoreau. “At the time of Thoreau’s death from tuberculosis at age 44, he was viewed as an unsuccessful nature writer. Today, however, he is known as the father of American nature writing and an important political thinker.” (Alan 378) So basically Thoreau is where this great idea of transcendental writing came from. ...


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CARTON, EVAN. “The Price of Privilege.”The American Scholar 67.4 (1998): 105. Academic One File. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.
Gandhi, Mohandas. “On Civil Disobedience.” Holt McDougal Literature: American Literature. Janet Allen, et al. Orlando: Houghton Milligan Harcourt, 2012. 400-401. Print.
King, Martin. “Letters from Birmingham Jail.” Holt McDougal Literature: American Literature. Janet Allen, et al. Orlando: Houghton Milligan Harcourt, 2012. 1204-1213. Print.
“The civil Rights movement.” Junior Scholastic 8 Feb.2010: T7+. General OneFile. Web 4 Nov. 2013.
Thoreau, Henry. “Civil Disobedience.” Holt McDougal Literature: American Literature. Janet Allen, et al. Orlando: Houghton Milligan Harcourt, 2012. 390-396. Print.
Westbrook, Robert. “MLK’s manifesto: letter from Birmingham Jail’ at 50. “The Christian Century 130.8 (2013): 22+. Academic OneFile. Web.4 Nov. 2013.


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