Trancendentalist Ideas Essay, Research Paper
The great transcendentalist had ideas and thoughts that were, at the time, thought to be crazy. Both Emerson and Thoreau focused on not being a follower and doing wheat you believe is right. Self-Reliance, Civil Disobedience, Walden, and The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail all show this idea, which all transcendentalists had at that time.
Self-Reliance by Waldo Emerson shows many ideas of the transcendentalist however two ideas seem emphasized. Right away he says people should not be followers. ??envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide?(Emerson 366). Also he says people should do what they think is right. ?Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string?(Emerson 366).
Civil Disobedience by Henry Thoreau shows his feelings about the government. He is showing his transcendentalist ideas by openly protesting the Mexican War which very few people were saying anything about. ?Witness the present Mexican War, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool?.?(Thoreau 380). He spoke out against the government during a time when it was almost a sin against God to do that. He says speak out against the government if you feel the need and that way it will get changed. ?Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step towards obtaining it?.?(Thoreau 381).
Walden, another book by Thoreau, is about when he lives on a pond. The setting alone shows the idea of not following other people by living by himself on the pond. However he says do not follow society for as long as possible. ?As long as possible live free and uncommitted?(Thoreau 375). Later on he talks about responsibilities and how we should focus on improving ourselves. ?If we do not get our sleepers, and forge the rails, and devote days and nights to the work, but go tinkering upon our lives to improve them, who will build the railroads?We do not ride on the railroad, it rides upon us??(Thoreau 377).
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail alone in its entirety shows Thoreau?s ideas of following the pact. His protest of the Mexican War led him to not paying his taxes. At the time anything like that had not even been thought of. People never protested the government and he was speaking and acting out against it. ?I will not pay one copper penny to an unjust government?Well, I?m ready right now Sam, to sign off from the government. Where do I sign? Where??(Lawrence 65) Henry says follow your own path and do what you think is right. At the beginning of the book there is a quote from Thoreau that shows this. ?If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.?(Lawrence preface)
These ideas were beyond their time and thought to be crazy. They were very true though. If people today put these ideas into play more people would have less stress and less anger. People would get along a lot better if they tried to follow the transcendentalist ideas.