The Transcendental Movement Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

The Transcendental Movement Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

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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.). Heavily influenced by the Romantic period, transcendentalism adopted the belief that reason was more important than logic as Benjamin Franklin has believed. Reason must also include unique emotion and spirit (Corbett et al.). This transcendental movement encouraged a few political movements, such as the Women Rights Movement, abolition, and utopian societies.
One of the greatest influencers of the transcendental movement is Ralph Waldo Emerson. He believed in “self-realization by which individuals could remake themselves” (Foner). His book “Self-Reliance” lays the groundwork for the transcendental movement. “Self-Reliance” suggests viewers to “trust their own intuition and common sense” than adapting to common opinions (Shaughnessy-Zeena). With a concentration on equality and unity, Emerson’s messages may have kick-started the Women’s Rights Movement. One quote from “Self-Reliance” correlates to these women,
“Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for” (Emerson, Self-Reliance).
Emerson was influential to society ...


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...ed morality. They wanted to protect the world 's individuality and free them of sins. The temperance movement did not last long and eventually was removed. However, it is clear that the transcendental movement had a great impact on society and created political movements as small as the temperance one.
The transcendental movement impacted the various political movements in the 19th century. The Women’s Right Movement, the abolition movement, and the temperance movement can be directly correlated to the period of transcendentalism. It has also been made clear the transcendentalist, Emerson, Parker, and Garrison held heavy influences over this period. Without these gentlemen, it is safe to say these various movements may never have happened. Clearly, individualism took new strength in the 19th century and will carry on to take formations in the centuries to come.

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