Transcendentalism in America: The Philosophical and Literary Movement

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The 1830s was a time of serious religious conflict. Many people, especially authors, had different opinions on how to find true spirituality. In the end, authors in America created Transcendentalism. Transcendentalism is a philosophical and literary movement that searches for individual truth through spiritual reflection, complete solitude, and a deep connection with nature. Because this was established by authors, many of them wrote different pieces reflecting and using the beliefs of Transcendentalism. Ralph Waldo Emerson was considered to be the father of Transcendentalism. He wrote many influential pieces that follow and emphasize major Transcendental beliefs. The major beliefs include the over-soul, nature, and senses. In addition to those, there are minor beliefs and overall ways of living. These beliefs were included in Transcendental pieces as a general way to share the belief and to create a movement. Due to the use of nature, senses, and the over-soul as its three core Transcendental beliefs, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature” successfully explain the fundamentals of Transcendentalism.
“Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson effectively uses the over-soul as a Transcendental belief to explain the relationship between humanity, nature, and God. The over-soul or the divine soul is the soul that resides in everyone or everything. Transcendentalist believes that all of life and the included parts of life are connected at an infinite capacity. Often, transcendentalists connect man to nature, and nature to God. Emerson captures this concept by saying, “Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space” (Emerson 3). Emerson starts his use of the over-soul by painting the picture of himself or...

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...nature, humanity, and God. Transcendentalists strongly believe that nature is the only place where you can have the closest relationship with God. By using the nature belief, Emerson was able to accentuate the importance and different parts of relationships including nature. One of the most important beliefs is the senses belief which includes self-reflection and meditation. This is a key belief to Transcendentalism because it allows for individual truth. Overall, these connections and relationships are important because they are what Transcendentalism depends on. Without the support of these beliefs, Emerson would not be able to successfully write about his concepts on individual truths because of the lack of support. Through the combination of the three major beliefs, Ralph Waldo Emerson was able to show the link between the different aspects of Transcendentalism.

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