We've organized this site to provide both original content and links toother material on the internet for study of the Transcendentalists: RalphWaldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and others. We'll be adding more original content over time, so keep visiting and check for what we've added.
In the opening line of the essay Emerson states "The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end".
In the image below, you can see a graph with the evolution of the times that people look for Circles (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s influential essay “Nature,” published in 1836, is the foundational document for the Transcendentalist Movement. In “Nature,” Emerson set forth his belief that God can be found in all aspects of nature, and that only by studying nature can man understand his relationship to the universe. The essay greatly influenced Henry David Thoreau, Branson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman and many others.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around the premises of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
During the 1800’s, Transcendentalism blossoms with the help of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson, they all express their beliefs through their writings which consists of self reliance, love of nature, and “Carpe Diem”....
The two events that initiated the changes in the Unitarian church was the essential establishment of the congregation by Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing and the Divinity Hall Address delivered by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was the chief liberal of the liberal Christians; he embraced the fashionable philosophies of his time and stood against the Christian doctrine within the Unitarian congregation. While it is not the case that every person within the denomination adopted his views, Emerson’s natural philosophy influenced enough people that schism, evolution, and reestablishment necessarily occurred. This is religious transformation at its finest.
Although Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau shared similar views and beliefs relating to Transcendentalism, the approach each author took in writing and making the ideas that were so important concrete was not alw...
A number of famous writers of the period, including poet Ralph Waldo Emerson and, of course, Nathaniel Hawthorne, were believers in the emerging faith.
Following the establishment of the AUA the Unitarian denomination grew rapidly. By 1825, there were 125 Unitarian congregations within the American Unitarian Association. Along with the momentous expansion came notable adherents to the faith. Harriet Beecher Stowe commented to her brother that “all the literary men of Massachusetts were Unitarian; all the trustees and professors of Harvard College were Unitarian; all the elite of wealth and fashion crowded Unitarian churches; the judges on the bench were Unitarian.” These members included President John Adams, Daniel Webster, and Alexander Hamilton. By blending the Enlightenment ideals of logic and reason with faith in the miracles of Scripture, the Unitarians created a rich intellectual tradition. The pace at which the church was progressing would come to a quick halt, for little did they know that out of their own flock would come another source of opposition. &
In the words of RalphWaldo Emerson, "We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our ownhands; we will speak our own minds...A nation of men will for the first timeexist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which alsoinspires all men."
As a prominent figure in the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson also led the reaction against Unitarianism. Emerson’s father, William Emerson, was a minister of the First Church of Boston, which was a Unitarian congregation. Like his father, Ralph Waldo Emerson was an ordained Unitarian minister. On July 15, 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his famous “Divinity School Address” to Harvard Divinity School. In his address Emerson presented the idea of breaking free from the traditions of institutionalized religion, denounced organized religion as a whole, and stated that every man was divine.
During the early to mid-nineteenth century the Unitarian denomination experienced a counter-reformation, which started with the Transcendentalists. The Transcendentalists were a constituency within the Unitarian church that desired to reform the church. They wanted to rid the church of its rationalism and infuse a naturalistic religion. The movement away from a rational religious understanding to a naturalistic one necessarily would include transforming the Unitarian view of God. The Transcendentalists were writers and thinkers like Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Parker, George Ripley, and most importantly, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Many of the Transcendentalists were brought up in the Unitarian church. They preached the idea of finding God through nature and natural experience. The Transcendentalists’, especially Emerson’s, ideals of individuality and self-reliance moved Unitarianism from corporate experience and traditional worship to an emphasis on individual worship.
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