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Transcendentalism. Nan and Irene. Defining Transcendentalism. G roup of new ideas in literature that emerged in New England 1830-1860

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Nan and Irene

defining transcendentalism
Defining Transcendentalism
  • Group of new ideas in literature that emerged in New England
  • 1830-1860
  • “Transcendentalists of the 1840s believed that the true path lay in the perfection of the individual, instead of reform of the larger society. The individualistic quality of Transcendentalism gave it a more spiritual than social quality, one that also influenced later Utopian movements “
ralph waldo emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was a lecturer, essayist, and poet, known for leading the Transcendentalist movement
  • May 25, 1803- April 27, 1882
  • Began career as Unitarian minister
  • Became lecturer, essayist, and philosopher as part of New England Renaissance
  • Fun fact: He always wore a black suit didn’t like loud laughter and couldn’t stand any mention to love.
  • known for “Self Reliance” “Nature” “The Divinity School Address” “The American Scholar”
emerson quotes
Emerson Quotes

A great man is always willing to be little. A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before. A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer. A man in debt is so far a slave. A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams.

walt whitman
Walt Whitman
  • (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was a poet, essayist and journalist
  • Birthplace: Long Island, New York
  • Best Known As: The poet who wrote Leaves of Grass
  • “Walt Whitman was a 19th century writer whose life's work, Leaves of Grass, made him one of the first American poets to gain international attention. Whitman spent most of his young life in Brooklyn, where he worked as a printer and newspaper journalist through the 1850s. The first edition of Leaves of Grass was privately printed in 1855 and consisted of 12 untitled poems, one of which was to later become famous as "Song of Myself." His literary style was experimental, a free-verse avalanche in celebration of nature and self that has since been described as the first expression of a distinctly American voice. Although Leaves of Grass did not sell well at first, it became popular in literary circles in Europe and, later, the United States, and Whitman published a total of eight editions during his lifetime. During the Civil War Whitman moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as a civil servant and volunteer nurse. There he published the poetry collections Drum Taps and Sequel to Drum Taps (1865-66), the latter containing his famous elegies for Abraham Lincoln, "Where Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" and "O Captain! My Captain!" In 1873 he was paralyzed after a stroke and moved to Camden, New Jersey. By the time of his death he was an international literary celebrity, and he is considered one of the most influential poets in American literature.”
quotes from walt whitman
Quotes From Walt Whitman
  • And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death. And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero.
  • Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you? He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune. Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time absolutely. I accept reality and dare not question it.
henry david thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
  • Born in 1817
  • As a child he quotes, "looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them." One might say he never stopped looking”
  • Inspired by Emerson
  • Thoreau died of tuberculosis in 1862, at the age of 44
  • Known for “Walden”, “Life in the Woods”, and “Civil Disobedience”
quotes from thoreau
Quotes from Thoreau…
  • What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
  • Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
  • Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
  • As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
  • As for doing good; that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution. Henry David Thoreau
  • As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
utopian societies
Utopian Societies
  • challenged the traditional norms and social conservatism of American society. Their desire to create a perfect world often lay in sharp contradiction to the world in which they lived, one in which capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, immigration, and the tension between the individual and the community challenged older forms of living.
new haven
New Haven
  • “the Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of men in their duties”
  • John Davenport and Theophilis Eaton
  • 1637 in Quinnipiac in Connecticut
  • Davenport next gathered the new church, aspiring to an even greater purity of worship than that found in the other colonies. Alone in the wilderness, the colonists sought a “church compact within itself, without subordination under or dependence upon any other but Jesus Christ.” In designing their ideal town, they created a grid of nine squares with the church in the central green, the common pasture. In such utopian dreams was America born.
brook farm
Brook Farm:
  • -Utopian community from 1841-1847
  • -located in West Roxbury, Mass. (now Boston) On 175 acre land
  • - “was to combine the thinker and the worker, to guarantee the greatest  mental freedom, and to prepare a society of liberal, cultivated persons, whose relations with each other would permit a more wholesome and simpler life than could be led amid the pressure of competitive institutions.”
  • -it was financed by selling stock.
  • -to become one of the 70-80 members you must buy only one share of stock
  • -the community is best known for its schooling system of 6 years.
  • - after years of struggle the land was sold in 1849 due to a fire
  • - the farm is still discussed in history because it was the place “distinguished literary figures and intellectual leaders associated with it.”
george ripley
George Ripley:
  • -in 1840 at a Transcendental Club meeting he announced the idea to create the farm
  • -the organizer and director of the town
  • -former Unitarian Minister
  • -major contributor to the Christian Examiner the leading Unitarian journal of the time and other papers at the time
  • -“he embraced a view of religious truth as "intuitive" rather than empirical and championed the new waves of liberal religious thinking coming out of Europe”
  • - he wrote was a leader in the “new views” of transcendentalism and even wrote a controversial article about the importance of the Biblical miracles
  • -he is known for his outspoken transcendental view and the founder of Brook Farm
nathanial hawthorne
Nathanial Hawthorne
  • -born in Salm Mass.
  • -In 1842 he married Sophia Peabody
  • -he died in 1864 on a trip to the mountains
  • -     a transcendentalist writer who is best known for his books The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables
  • -     “Hawthorne was one of the first American writers to explore the hidden motivations of his characters.”
  • -     “Hawthorne became one of the leading writers of his time, moving away from formalism and exploring the ideas of individual responsibility, the importance of creative expression and man’s relationship to the natural world.”
  • -     Hawthorne was invite to stay at Brooke Farm and he accepted because he needed employment
  • -     He soon left Brook Farm though because it was not doing well, and it would not benefit his writing
bronson alcott
Bronson Alcott
  • -     born in Connecticut
  • -     Married to Abigail May
  • -     he educated himself and grew to be one of the leading Transcendentalist teachers
  • -     he opened up some school and based them off conversation technique (similar to Ensworth today)
  • -     But his ideas were so new and different the schools were forced to close
  • -     His daughters were taught by Thoreau
  • -     He joined with Charles Lane, founding a farm called Fruitlands
  • -     He was not a resident at Brook Farm but wanted to improve upon the idea of the farm
  • -Fruitlands failed however also in 1844
  • -     He then held “conversations” traveling to preach education and transcendental views
  • -     He was even a stop on the underground railroad trying to help black slaves
  • -     He as many of these men were committed to “truth not profit” which is why so many work attempts failed
  • -     He died in 1888
relationship with transcendentalism
Relationship with Transcendentalism
  • -     The Utopian Communities have connections with Transcendentalist views
  • -     Some transcendentalists tried living in utopian communities because they either needed work, or a place to live
  • -     They believed in creating a perfect, natural society where truth and religion came first
  • -     Transcendental ideas helped influence the utopian communities
  • -     Both many Utopian communities and transcendentalists failed. The communities were sold and people such as Hawthorne and Alcott were poor and employed because all believed in “truth not profit”
  • -     The both influenced America “into a sense of change and progress.”
  • -     While they do have similarities they do have differences: many utopian communities were very old school in thinking, while some transcendentalists began to advocate for social reform
  • -     Both groups, although having some similar qualities, would have never called their group the same. They saw themselves as different groups, although getting some ideas from each other, they saw themselves separate
oneida community
Oneida Community
  • -     another group forming a Utopian community
  • -     1848 in Oneida, NY
  • -     started by John Humphrey Noyes
  • -     they called themselves perfectionists “because they believed that spiritual perfection could be achieved by them in this world
  • -     this community is most known for their “family arrangement”
  • o     they called it “complex marriage” where every man was married to every woman
  • -     they first tried to support themselves by farming and selling fruits and vegetables. They soon realized this did not make them enough income, so they went into some industrial industries, They soon became well known silver makers
  • -     soon the community began to fall and complex marriage was abandoned, but the silver company stayed strong forming the new Oneida Community-Limited
  • -     this was one of the first communities to somewhat succeed because they incorporated the smart business man into their community, realizing that is what they needed to succeed as a community.
john humphrey noyes
John Humphrey Noyes
  • -     the founder of the Oneida Community
  • -     born in Vermont into an accomplished family
  • -     after much mental struggle Noyes began to believe that God did not expect people to do the impossible, making perfection attainable
  • -     he had attempted to start some communities but was forced to leave many cities because of his marital beliefs
  • -     Noyes was successful in the Oneida community finally
  • -     After many years he left for Canada giving the community to his son, but that is when the community started to go down hill because his son was agnostic
  • -     He died in 1886
  • -Formed my William Miller
  • -this was a group of people that because of Miller’s own thoughts about the Bible, believed that Jesus would return to earth in 1843, and that the end of the world was coming. 
  • - The Millerities did not have a permanent place, but instead had “camp meetings” where they would preach their ideas to a crowd
  • - When the day finally arrived that Jesus was supposed to come back and the world would end, all of the followers sat and prayed together waiting, only to find they were of course disappointed.
  • - After this most of the followers went back to a more traditional church, while some believed that Jesus had come back but was invisible. And Miller went back to reading the Bible and his books, trying to still figure out what he had missed.  
william miller
William Miller
  • -     born in 1782
  • -     was a farmer
  • -     the War of 1812 first aroused Miller’s questions about religion
  • -     he began reading the Bible and the second coming of Jesus caught his interest
  • -     he founded the Millerites
  • -     he beat this idea into is head. Believing that he had truly found the hidden message in the Bible and his interpretations were true
  • -      When Millerism continued to fail, Miller and his preaching began to fade, even though his beliefs stayed strong
  • -     he died in 1849
  • -there were 6 founders (including Mother Ann Lee)
  • - they were about leading pure sin free lives
  • - the early founders were Jane and James Wardley
  • - they get their name from when they would pray. They would dance and shake to  get sins out and bring God in
  • - they wanted to establish a Utopian Community, where “Extolling the virtues of purity, pacifism, tolerance and equality of the sexes” where their main goals.
  • -they had very strict laws for every aspect in life. One major law was celibacy
  • -“The Shakers succeeded in building 19 communities in total and were without doubt the most successful of all the utopian experiments of the 19th century. Sadly, decline set in following the American Civil War and by 1900 there were only 1000 followers.”
mother ann lee
Mother Ann Lee
  • -born in 1736
  • - she grew up in a very poor family, but a family that had strong morals
  • - she was thoughtful and serious about religion from an early age
  • - at 23 she united herself with the Shaker community
  • - she found protection with this group
  • - she got married by an arranged marriage, and there were many fights because of her desire to be celibate.
  • - she spent one night in jail because of being a Shaker, and after that night she gained more self confidence, giving herself the name Mother Ann Lee and becoming a true leader of the Shakers. 
  • - her marriage soon ended
  • -she continued to lead the Shakers until her death in 1784
  • -God came to Joseph Smith and told him that all religions at the moment were corrupt and he needed to start something new. This is how Joseph Smith brought about the Mormons.
  • -there are two main things that are different from Christianity. 1. Mormons believe that after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, he came to the Americas and taught people. 2. There is a modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Monson is believed to have a direct line to God, so Monson can lead as if God were on earth himself.
  • - All of the Mormon rules and beliefs can be found in the Book of Mormon, a testament of Jesus Christ, which confirms the truths found in the Bible
  • -the Mormons, unlike many of the other religions groups and utopian communities in the 19th century, the practice of Mormonism is still alive today.
joseph smith
Joseph Smith
  • -born in Vermont
  • - he had a talk with God and God told him to not join any current religion, because they were all corrupt.
  • -He was a divine man to some, even bringing forth from God the Book of Mormons
  • -He was the voice and leader of the Mormons. Without Smith, Mormonism might not exist today
  • - in 1844 he and his brother were killed by an armed mob
book of the mormon
Book of the Mormon
  • -     Another testament of Jesus
  • -     It confirms the truths found in the Bible
  • -     Joseph Smith translated the book from ancient records on gold plates
  • -     It documents the lives of Americans primarily from 600 BC through 421 AD
  • -     First published in 1830
  • -     It has been translated into many different languages
  • -     It is said to be the helper to understanding the Bible and understanding your relationship with God more fully
brigham young
Brigham Young
  • -     born 1801 in Vermont
  • -     he decided to leave home at an early age because of his family life
  • -     he worked as a carpenter
  • -     he married at the age of 23 to Miriam Works
  • -     Samuel Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, was coming through town to deliver The Book of Mormon, and the book soon ended up in the hands of Young.
  • -     After some speculation, he was baptized Mormon in 1832
  • -     After his baptism, he wanted to spread the kingdom of God. When he first met Smith, he was moved by the spirit and spoke in tongues.
  • -     Young became the Mormon leader after the death of Smith
  • -     He soon became the governor of Utah
  • -     He died in 1877
latter day saints
Latter Day Saints
  • -another name for Mormons
  • - the official name is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
sites used
Sites used…
  • Ethan Christiansen