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Essay on Transcendentalism and Rebellion - The Politics of Revolution

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Transcendentalism and Rebellion – The Politics of Revolution


Is the romantic impulse towards rebellion driven by natural human instinct? Perhaps science should study this question a bit more in depth and share its findings with the major governments of the world because it appears as though the impulse towards rebellion is inherent to situations in which the freedoms of the individual are sacrificed to the good of the collective. If indeed rebellion is instinctual, does that mean that the individual is the highest order in natural law and therefore must cast off the oppression of artificial constraints? Throughout history democratic and socialist governments have unflinchingly managed to put the purported ‘good of the group’ in opposition with the rights of individuals; but are the two really in opposition to one another? Is their opposition a natural state, or an artificial one created by those in power? Until these questions are examined and answered rebellion will continue to erupt whenever conditions restrain the growth of the individual. Although the United States was founded upon rebellion, it appears as though that romantic impulse has been successfully crushed by a more realistic acceptance of subjugation in the 21st century. By comparing and contrasting the elements that contributed to rebellion during the age of the Transcendentalists – belief in the individual, recognition of government crimes against the individual, and conditions favorable for reform – with these elements as they exist today, it may be possible to pinpoint why there is no revolution in 21st century America.

Perhaps the single most important factor in the formation of government is whether the creators possess a ...


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.... Shorter 6th ed. NY: Norton, 2003, 527-538.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “The American Scholar.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Nina Baym ed. Shorter 6th ed. NY: Norton, 2003, 514-526.

“Minarchism.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 2003.

Moore, Micheal. “A Michael Moore.com guide to the USA Patriot Act.” 19 November 2003. www.michaelmoore.com

“Robert Nozick.” The Public Philosopher. www.geocities.com

Thoreau, Henry David. “Resistance to Civil Government.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Nina Baym ed. Shorter 6th ed. NY: Norton, 2003, 837-852.

Vidal, Gore. “The Erosion of the American Dream: Interview with Gore Vidal.” Dateline, SBS TV, Australia. 12 March 2003. www.ratical.org/ratville

Weinstein, James. The Long Detour: The History and Future of the American Left. Boulder: Westview Books, 2003.


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