Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Non Conformity in Thought and Action

Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Non Conformity in Thought and Action

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In New England, Congregational Church grew into one of the biggest movements of religion, literature and philosophy as a reform in the early nineteenth-century in American history. A group of people including former Unitarian ministers made American transcendentalism started its transformation of the American intellect. These people wanted to reform the church because they saw it as a social religion which did not awake the individual’s realization of his own spirituality. These transcendentalists tried to urge their ideas of the significance of the self in spiritual life. American transcendentalism reached its peak in New England in the 1840s under the leadership of Ralph Waldo Emerson. As a former Unitarian minister, Emerson was at the forefront of this movement. He stated the importance of the American individualism in terms of moral and intellectual developments in Self Reliance. His essay supported the essence of the American transcendentalism and urged his readers that the individual is identical with the world and that the world exists in unity with God; therefore, there is no need for an outside institution. His essay did not address a specific group but it actually addressed all sorts of individuals in general. In his essay, he critically discussed the importance of American individualism, necessity of nonconformity and integrity by giving significant examples from the history. Moreover, his ideals which he represented in Self-Reliance became the inspiration for many important people in American history.
Firstly, Self-Reliance was one of the vital keys of writings that represented the ethic of American individualism. In Self Reliance, Emerson urged his readers to stand out when it comes to their individual thoughts witho...


... middle of paper ...


...ncouraged people to discover themselves away from the society and then confront society as fulfilled individuals. If the people can just embrace the chaos which breaks out because of the class power structure of society, they might be more fulfilled and happy.



Works Cited
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Self-Reliance”. Self-Reliance and Other Essays. New York : Dover
Publications, 1993.
Obama, Barack. “The Inaugural Address 2009”. The Inaugural Address, 2009: Together with
Abraham Lincoln's First and Second Inaugural Addresses and The Gettysburg Address and Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance. (Penguin Books, February 4, 2009).
Thoreau, Henry David, “Resistance To Civil Government”. The Bedford Anthology of
American Literature, vol.1. Beginnings to 1865. New York, 2008. (794-809)
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1971. Print.


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