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Emersons Transcedentalist Beliefs

Powerful Essays
Every so often throughout history, great doers and thinkers come along that break the mold and set new standards. People like Caesar, Shakespeare, Napoleon and Jesus have been studied and immortalized in volumes of texts. Then there are others who are not as well known. People like Ralph Waldo Emerson. From his life, writings, associates, beliefs and philosophy, this Concord, Massachusetts man has set his place as a hero in American literature and philosophy (Bloom 13).
The first, most important thing to mention about Ralph Waldo Emerson is that he was not a Transcendentalist philosopher (Bloom 1). Ralph Emerson was a poet, critic, essayist, and a believer of morals (Bloom 2). Many people look at what he wrote in his books and essays, and they took his ideas from his speeches and turned them into a way of life. His ideas and beliefs earned him the role as the chief spokesman for American Transcendentalism (Siepmann 300).
Emerson was a graduate from Harvard University. After his graduation, he became a minister. It was while he was a preacher that he began to think new ideas about life. The breakthrough for his new way of thinking came when he resigned from pasturing at the Second Church of Boston because e could not administer the Lord’s Supper (Hart 256).
The sources of Emerson’s writings were from the early colonists, and he acknowledged them in his writings (Bloom 34). His writings were secular, and the readers of the era were sometimes scared by the lack of religious references and biblical texts in his writings. His writings were considered daring for his time, but they were moral (Unger 2).
The tone of his work was focused on self-reliance and the problem of how to live. His writings provoked people to ask how instead of what and not we but I (Unger 1). Emerson’s essays spoke to people of the 19th century that were ready for individuality and a new optimism that liked God, nature, and man (Masterpieces 258).
His essays tell the importance of a man that goes on through life like he represents not only himself, but also every other person he sees and meets (Masterpieces 258). He used his writings to challenge traditional thought (Siepmann 300).
Most consider his writings to...

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...atest thinkers in American history (Masterpieces 258).

Bibliography

Bloom, Harold. Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.
Hart, James D. The Oxford Companion to American Literature. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1965, pp 255-257.
Masterpieces of World Literature. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1989, p 250.
Meyerson, Joel. A Historical Guide To Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2000
Siepmann, Katherine Baker. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia. New York: Harper Collins
Publishers, 1987, pp 300-301.
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. Encyclopedia of Utopian Literature. Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO,
1995, p 515.
Spiller, Robert E., et. al. Literary History of the United States. New York: The
MacMillan Company, 1962, pp 351-387.
Unger, Leonard. American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. New York:
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974, pp 1-24.
Wood, James Playsted. Trust Thyself: A Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson for the Young
Reader. New York: Pantheon Books, 1964.
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