Ralph Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism Essay

Length: 708 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview



As the leader of the transcendentalist movement, American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson adhered to the idea that everything in our world is a scaled down representation of the universe at large. Emerson used his Transcendentalist philosophy as a vehicle to share his ideas. He promoted the ideas that the human race should avoid false consistency, and conformity in general in order to follow their own instincts and ideas so that everyone might arrive at a personalized understanding of the world and the universe. These themes of non-conformity, individuality and personal interpretation of universal existence permeated Emerson’s work. Through his writings, Emerson was propelled to the forefront of the political scene of his day.
The early years of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s life led to him becoming the central figure of the Transcendentalist movement. Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a family that would eventually have eight children. Following in his father’s footsteps, Emerson became a minister after graduating from Harvard. After his wife of two years died, her death and his “recent crisis of faith” caused Emerson to resign from his position as a minister (“Ralph Waldo Emerson”). To gain a new perspective of the world, Emerson traveled Europe. After returning home, Emerson remarried and began giving lectures that were different from the sermons he previously preached. These lectures talked of “spiritual experience and ethical living” (“Ralph Waldo Emerson”). Through his lectures and essays, Emerson quickly became the leading figure of American Transcendentalism.
Transcendentalism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a philosophy that emphasizes the a priori conditions of knowledge and experience or the unknowable char...


... middle of paper ...


...Nature.” One writer describes “Nature” as being written “by a man of genius” because he is so in awe of Emerson’s writing (Chapman). For example, in “Nature,” Emerson says that “the happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship” (Nature). This means that if man pays attention to the beauty of nature, he will see how everything reflects the beauty of God, thus God is in nature. When man sees God in all creation, he will realize that nature is worshiping God, and he will want to worship God as well. Emerson’s writing reflects his belief that the notions of conforming to the ideals and demands of polite society have rendered man helpless, dependent and stagnant. He promotes self-sufficiency and argues that such an approach to life and existence allows man to achieve a higher level of self-realization in order to grow to attain authentic independence.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Ralph Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston in 1803. He was a son of Unitarian minister and the descendant of New England clergymen. This led him to become a minister himself and later quit to focus on his philosophy called transcendentalism. Emerson started writing in his youth and later attended Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard in 1821 he taught in a women school. The book of Anthology of American Literature says, “Like his philosophy, his writing seemed to lack organization, but it swarmed with epigrams and memorable passages” (939)....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
2180 words (6.2 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson : The History And History Of Transcendentalism Essay

- Transcendentalism is the idea that society has corrupted the individual’s mind. Transcendentalists believe that people are of higher quality when they use their individual mind and are independent of the views of the world (“Transcendentalism”) This movement started in 1836, by three men, and was said to have died out following Margaret Fuller’s death in 1850 (“Transcendentalism”). One of the founders of the Transcendentalist Movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
715 words (2 pages)

Essay about Transcendentalism, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

- Transcendentalism is a major concept that originated in New England from 1836 to 1855. It is the idea that people have knowledge about themselves that rises above or goes beyond the five senses. The man credited with leading this revolutionary movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was born in Boston, and used his experience at Harvard and as a Unitarian Reverend to help start this revolution. He eventually would come to the conclusion that the individual is more morally just than religion. He started this shift with his book Nature, which he published in 1836....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1089 words (3.1 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson : The Philosophical Development For Transcendentalism

- Ralph Waldo Emerson might have been Truman a standout amongst our incredible geniuses despite the fact that he. Might have a short history. In any case likewise Emerson once said himself. “Great geniuses have the most brief biographies.” Emerson might have been likewise a significant. Pioneers for “the philosophical development for Transcendentalism”. Transcendentalism might have been faith for a higher actuality over that found ordinary an aggregation. That a mankind 's camwood accomplish. Anecdotal data Emerson might have been destined around May 25, 1803 done Boston, Massachusetts....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
719 words (2.1 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism        Ralph Waldo Emerson believed in the potential within every individual to achieve a heightened state of being and awareness through a close observation of the world and an introspective look at himself. Infused in his work are the influences of transcendentalism and his life as a Unitarian pastor. James D. Hart, when discussing the spirit of transcendentalism, states, "Man may fulfill his divine potentialities either through a rapt mystical state, in which the divine is infused into the human, or through coming into contact with the truth, beauty, and goodness embodied in nature and originating in the Over-Soul....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Better Essays
1387 words (4 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Summary Essay

- A Review of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Oscar W. Firkins Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American man with a plethora of words pertaining to his thoughts and ideologies of life. He never failed to share his political or religious views with the public. Emerson was a renowned lecturer, essayist and preacher during his existence. With the intention to restore the identity of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in 1915, Oscar W. Firkins published his opinions to the Journals by Ralph Waldo Emerson in a book. The purpose of this book was to encapsulate Emerson’s life (which he did), in the biography called Ralph Waldo Emerson....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1503 words (4.3 pages)

An Essay On Ralph Waldo Emerson

- Brent Turner Advanced Senior English December 12, 2017 Mrs. Stapleton Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American transcendentalist poet and writer in the 1800s. He led the transcendentalist movement in the mid 19th century. Emerson focused his writings on nature and anti-slavery. Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his works, like in his 1836 essay "Nature"....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1064 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Theories Of Ralph Waldo Emerson

- A group of logical thinkers called the American Transcendentalists existed in the time lasting only roughly 20-30 years from the 1830s to the 1860’s, but the ideas of these philosophers in this particular era proved to be extremely unique. They focused on answering questions of the unknown and providing a deeper understanding of man and the universe. The Transcendentalist theories and ideas might have made a valid point in the 1800’s and actually made sense to follow through with and understand, however this concept does not seem to have a stable place in the world today....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1351 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on God, Or Gods, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

- Religion is generally viewed as a common belief shared by a group of people. These groups then create dogmas and doctrines that are to be followed and perceived as true. From the doctrines rituals and rites form leading to a sense of unity through initiation. Once a person is initiated they are granted membership into the religion and are given a sense of belonging. The sense of being part of a bigger picture is a commonality found in all humans. The usual uniting factor that binds people to a religion is the belief in the same higher being, usually called God, or Gods....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

The Transcendental Movement Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- 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.)....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
853 words (2.4 pages)