Individualism Essay

853 Words4 Pages
The idea of Individualism can be traced all the way back to England before America’s existence. As we know, individualism has been interpreted in many forms throughout history. The 19th century is no different, taking hold of its own idea of individualism, called transcendentalism. Transcendentalism suggests freedom should not be confined to those focused on money and superficial gains. Instead, people should depend on no one but themselves. This movement focused on “greater individualism against conformity” (Corbett et al.). Heavily influenced by the Romantic period, transcendentalism adopted the belief that reason was more important than logic as Benjamin Franklin has believed. Reason must also include unique emotion and spirit (Corbett et…show more content…
An abolitionist himself, he preached to rid slavery and for equal treatment of all humans, including Native Americans. While Emerson tried to make a mark on slavery, it was William Lloyd Garrison who greatly influenced the abolition movement. Though there were different views on how to rid slavery, the whole abolition movement reflects the transcendental movement. Slaves no longer conformed to society 's set ideals. They began to take charge of their lives. Following a message from Emerson, slaves wanted to “do the things at which (they) are great at, not what (they) were never made for” . Just like the Women’s Rights Movement, slaves began to reveal their true identity and united to embrace their individualism. Theodore Parker a transcendentalist and an abolitionist spoke on this issue greatly, “Never violate the sacredness of your individual self-respect” (Goodreads). Between Emerson, Parker, Garrison and many other transcendentalist/abolitionist, their voices began to be heard and heavily influenced the implantation of the 13 amendment. As William Lloyd Garrison would say “Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril”…show more content…
Various small utopian societies were formed, some religious while others secular (Corbett et al.). Each of these societies was against conformity. These groups formed because they were finding their own identity, they did not believe in following the majority, as a result, forming their utopian societies. Therefore it can be seen the transcendental movement influenced theses groups. The secular groups, in particular, wished for greater individualism. Their groups formed because they were against or afraid of what the market revolution would bring. In a way, these utopian societies could be seen as a political movement because the temperance movement evolved out of these religious groups. Christians, in particular, felt alcohol corrupted morality. They wanted to protect the world 's individuality and free them of sins. The temperance movement did not last long and eventually was removed. However, it is clear that the transcendental movement had a great impact on society and created political movements as small as the temperance
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