Ralph Waldo Emerson And The Transcendentalist Movement Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson And The Transcendentalist Movement Essay

Length: 973 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, poet, and philosopher during the 1800s. Many people know about him today because he wrote many famous essays, including his most famous, “Self-Reliance.” He was important because he was one of the major figures in the transcendentalist movement.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 to William and Ruth Emerson. His father was a minister in the Congregational church, like his father and many ancestors before him. Emerson’s father died when he was only seven years old, which changed his life drastically. The family was poor, and could only afford necessary things. The Emerson children were affected greatly by their family’s poverty, “especially Ralph, who always felt like an outsider outsider among the Boston elite” (Field 37).
The minister which succeeded William Emerson allowed the family use of their parsonage until the arrival of a new minister. The church continued to pay William’s family his salary for more than a year after his death, then reached a settlement. The Emersons would be paid an annual wage of five hundred dollars for seven years. This amount was not sufficient to pay off William’s debts or cover the expenses of their family throughout the year (Field 38).
A chronology kept by Stanford University stated that Emerson entered the Boston Public Latin School in 1812. “Before and after his instruction at the Latin School preteen Ralph assisted his mother in providing for their boarders,” (Field 39). The Emersons had to take in boarders to supplement their income, Ralph and his brothers helped their mother provide for the boarders, and protected their mother as much as they could. “As boys and young men, the brothers worked at chores ...


... middle of paper ...


...en, then went on to publish English Traits in 1856, The Conduct of Life in 1860, and Society and Solitude in 1870 (Goodman).
From 1847-1848 Emerson was lecturing in England. This inspired him to write English Traits, which was published in 1856. Upon his return from England, “Emerson was an outspoken advocate of abolition in lectures across New England and the Midwest and continued lecturing widely on a number of different topics--eighty lectures in 1867 alone” (Brewton). After publishing Society and Solitude and presenting sixteen lectures in Harvard’s Philosophy Department in 1870, Emerson had a period of failing health. After this, he traveled to Europe, then his journal entries ceased in 1875 (Goodman). Brewton stated, “Emerson spent the final years of his life peacefully but without full use of his faculties. He died of pneumonia in 1882 at his home in Concord.”

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Transcendentalist Movement : Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American lecturer, poet, and essayist who lead the Transcendentalist movement around the mid-19th century and changed the social values around him. Emerson wrote many essays about the value of individually and believed that thinking for one’s self and trusting originals ideas, and help reach inclusive truth that will benefit the society as a whole. Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803. His father, William Emerson who was the pastor in church and his mother, Ruth Haskins....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Concord]

Better Essays
897 words (2.6 pages)

The Transcendentalist Movent and Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- The transcendentalist movement began in the 1830s. Many leaders throughout this movement expressed their beliefs and ideas through writing. The transcendentalist movement’s main focus was on independence. There were many people involved in this movement, but the most important person was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He became a leading spokesman and played a key role in the transcendentalist movement. Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston (Cayton). He is the son of Ruth Haskins Emerson and William Emerson....   [tags: biography, literature, nature]

Better Essays
1702 words (4.9 pages)

Transcendentalist Writers: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman

- All young people dream of breaking away from their parents and building their own lives. They yearn to follow their dreams, no matter how wild and crazy, and eventually hope to piece together their true selves. When Christopher McCandless graduated from college and took to the road with no word to his family, he might have appeared to be just another regular kid with overly strong ambitions and an uncontrolled, insatiable thirst for freedom. However, McCandless was more than an average young man who was trying to escape his parents’ control and live recklessly on his own devices....   [tags: Christopher McCandless , ideologies]

Better Essays
1447 words (4.1 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendentalist Philosophy and Its Influence on Margaret Fuller's Feminist Philosophy

- Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendentalist Philosophy and Its Influence on Margaret Fuller's Feminist Philosophy Ralph Waldo Emerson was a leading thinker in the American Transcendentalist movement, who first proposed many of the movement’s most influential ideas regarding the relation between the human mind and the world. He believed each person to possess a “soul,” a power within the self to uniquely perceive and understand the world, and grasp the intricate relationships between all things; Emerson’s universe was infinitely knowable, and his ideal, independent soul should be in a state of constant consideration and reevaluation of the world around him....   [tags: Emerson Fuller Philosophies Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
2039 words (5.8 pages)

The American Scholar By Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays

- Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers his address The American Scholar to a Harvard audience in 1837, where he presents the three crucial aspects of being an American Scholar. First of the scholarly characteristics was the influence of nature, second was the mind of the past, and the last was action. He states that, “action is with the scholar subordinate, but it is essential.” He further states that that “inaction is cowardice, but there can be no scholar without the heroic mind.” What exactly does Emerson mean by the word action....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Mind]

Better Essays
1479 words (4.2 pages)

Emerson 's Self Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous essayist of the Romantic Era, helped to lead the transcendentalist movement with his essays describing individualism: “Nature,” “Self-Reliance,” and “Each and All.” “Self-Reliance,” specifically, portrays the idea of the transcendentalist movement through breaking away from the norms of society, for one must make his own decisions. Emerson explains that people should not rely on knowledge provided by others; instead, they should make their decisions based on personal experiences and thoughts....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Belief]

Better Essays
703 words (2 pages)

Essay on Ralph Waldo Emerson 's The American Scholar

- The transcendentalist ideas that are present in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” are those that truth can be found but it outside of one’s own personal thoughts. These truths can be found within nature which promotes personal revelations for these truths to present themselves. The “truth’s” that are found in nature allow for the individual’s spirit to be awakened. An important piece was that these truths stress the importance of feeling deeply and being intoned with one’s emotions. The truth allows the authentic self to be revealed....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
701 words (2 pages)

The Transcendentalist Movement : An American Literary, Political, And Philosophical Movement

- As Steve Jobs once said, ?Your time is limited, so don?t waste it living someone else?s.. This quote1 is an accurate representation of one of the main ideas of the Transcendentalist movement, which is individuality. Although the Transcendentalist movement originated in the 1830?s, its effects can still be seen in many aspects of culture and society today. The Transcendentalists caused a revival in American culture because they established that imagination is better than reason, independence is better than dependence, and creativity is better than theory....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Concord]

Better Essays
1765 words (5 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Man Thinking Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Man Thinking By the early 1800’s, a new sense of literary freedom was present in America. The colonial writers of the past were heavily influenced by their European roots, and the limits of technology had kept printed literature from great diversification. By the late 1700’s however, American population was exploding, the printed word had become much more accessible, and the newfound freedom from Britain created an environment perfect for the spread of new ideas. The search for a national identity and a spirit of nonconformity had entered the hearts of many Americans, such as writers David Hume, Henry David Thoreau, George Putnam, and Frederick Henry Hedge....   [tags: Transcendentalist movement, poet, essayist]

Better Essays
1628 words (4.7 pages)

Essay about Bono: A Modern Day Transcendentalist

- In the 1830s the Transcendental movement sprouted. Through the movement founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the idea emerged that there is an inherent goodness in all of us. We learned that just because everyone else has a certain philosophy, it does not mean you are required to think that way. Transcendentalism revolved around the themes of religion, politics, the environment and intuition. Even though the transcendental movement ended more than a century and a half ago, its ideals thrive within modern day society....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1545 words (4.4 pages)