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Transcendentalism. What does it mean?. p hilosophy of Transcendentalism a reference to that which is within the human mind the innate ability within all people to fulfill their potential, to overcome adversity, to face challenges directly

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What does it mean
What does it mean?

  • philosophy of Transcendentalism a reference to that which is within the human mind

  • the innate ability within all people to fulfill their potential, to overcome adversity, to face challenges directly

  • Listening to the inner voice, the Transcendentalist, at one with God and Nature, grows into an autonomous, self-reliant individual – no need for affirmation outside of him or herself


Foundation
Foundation

  • American Transcendentalism began as a combination of Unitarian theology (God is “one” rather than a “trinity, etc.) and German philosophy in the mid-1800s

  • Industrial Revolution bringing rapid change

  • New materialism a distraction (what about now?)


Foundation cont
Foundation Cont.

  • Being a good citizen meant following laws that were not always moral or right (ex. Fugitive Slave Laws returning escaped slaves to their owners)

  • Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau spoke out against such injustice

  • They were viewed as radical non-conformists


The dial
The Dial

  • Magazine published by women’s rights activist Margaret Fuller

  • Platform to speak about equal rights for women, abolishment of slavery, rights and responsibilities of the individual, and injustices perpetrated in the name of Democracy


Transcendentalist values
Transcendentalist Values

  • Individuality above social acceptance

  • Creativity above financial prosperity

  • The Divine exists in Nature

  • Man is above the traditional deity of organized religion

  • Organized religion inspires fear and condemnation of self and others

  • Personal vision and truth above external reality

  • Experiential education over rote memorization and drill found in public schools


Influential
Influential

  • Unhappy with social and political developments of the day

  • Developed and honed a powerful political voice (forerunner of Environmental movement, Civil Rights movement, women’s rights, peaceful protest to end war, etc.)

  • Helped define the spirit of American individualism and independence


Reference
Reference

Literary Touchstone Classics edition of Transcendentalism: Essential Essays of Emerson &Thoreau, 2008. Prestwick House.


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