Taking a Brief Look at Transcendentalism Essays

Taking a Brief Look at Transcendentalism Essays

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According to transcendentalism, the obligations of an individual to society are to defy unjust laws with civil disobedience. This thought of defying laws with civil disobedience became popular in the 50’s and 60’s but was theorized back in the early 19th century. The first transcendentalist to discuss this concept was Henry David Thoreau. He created the concept of fighting with peace instead of arms.
The most recent transcendentalist, Martin Luther King Jr., tells us that civil disobedience is the most right way to deal with unjust laws. “… One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” Mr. King is confessing that everyone has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws but transcendentalism illustrates how to do so in a peaceful non-violent way that will gain the respect of others (King). Morals are the basis of responsibility and a person’s moral compass is already calibrated to the right direction of what is right and what is wrong. Consciously, “One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with the willingness to accept penalty.”(King) Willing to receive punishment for what he believed in said a lot about his character but how he responded to such punishment really exhibited that he is a transcend list and not an average Joe. MLK JR not only popularized the idea of transcendentalism but showed the American people that not all wars are won with deadly weapons.
Transcendentalism is not reserved to just the US but exists all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi, originating from India, initiated a revolution in India by forcing out the British through the practice of peaceful non-conformity. Gandhi touched those around him through his willingness to receive punishment for what he believes is morally ri...

... middle of paper ...

...K, Gandhi, and Thoreau all used civil disobedience to protest what they believed was right morally for them and for the people around them.

Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "from Nature." Emerson Central. Jones Johnson Lewis, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. .
Glick, Wendell, ed. "Resistance to Civil Government." The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau: Reform Papers. Princeton University Press, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. .
King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter From a Birmingham Jail." African Studies Center. University of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. .
"Mahatma Gandhi." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Oct 27 2013,

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