In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in America, establishing himself as a prolific poet, essayist, popular lecturer, and an advocate of social reforms who was nevertheless suspicious of reform and reformers. Emerson achieved some reputation with his verse, corresponded with many of the leading intellectual and artistic figures of his day, and during an off and on again career as a Unitarian minister, delivered and later published a number of controversial sermons. Transcendentalism in America, of which Emerson was the leading figure, resembled British Romanticism in its precept that a fundamental continuity exists between man, nature, and God, or the divine. Matter and spirit are not opposed but reflect a critical unity of experience.
Reflection upon Ralph Waldo Emerson
Experience (essay) - Wikipedia
Having spent one night in jail in July of for refusal to pay his poll tax in protest against slavery and the Mexican War, Thoreau lectured before the Concord Lyceum in January of on the subject "On the Relation of the Individual to the State. Salt and issued in London in One of Thoreau's most influential writings, it has been published separately many times Walter Harding's The Variorum Civil Disobedience , for example, appeared in , included in volumes of selections from Thoreau among them the Modern Library Edition of Walden and Other Writings of Henry David Thoreau , edited by Brooks Atkinson , and translated into European and Asian languages. Thoreau opens Civil Disobedience with the maxim "That government is best which governs least," and he speaks in favor of government that does not intrude upon men's lives. Government is only an expedient — a means of attaining an end. It exists because the people have chosen it to execute their will, but it is susceptible to misuse. The Mexican War is an example of a few people using the government as their tool.
Thoreau, Emerson, and Transcendentalism
Lesson sponsored by. Embracing this view of individualism, he asserts, can revolutionize society, not through a sweeping mass movement, but through the transformation of one life at a time and through the creation of leaders capable of greatness. Grade CCR complexity band. For more information on text complexity see these resources from achievethecore. In the Text Analysis section, Tier 2 vocabulary words are defined in pop-ups, and Tier 3 words are explained in brackets.
As he returned from Europe in , Emerson had already begun to think about the book that would eventually be published under the title Nature. In writing Nature , Emerson drew upon material from his journals, sermons, and lectures. A new edition also published by Munroe, with Emerson paying the printing costs, his usual arrangement with Munroe appeared in December of This second edition was printed from the plates of the collection Nature; Addresses, and Lectures , published by Munroe in September The second edition of this collection was published in Boston in by Phillips, Sampson, under the title Miscellanies; Embracing Nature, Addresses, and Lectures.