The Transcendental Movement: History and Concepts

The Transcendental Movement devoted to thriving to discover the age-old philosophical question: What exactly is the real meaning of life? And discover a remedy, Transcendentalists centered on five main beliefs. These were individualism, nature, anti-materialism, intuition, and the quest to find the truth of existence (Gura). Notably, the Movement lured in famous names such as authors Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and women right's activist Margret Fuller. Because of the rather extreme liberal views and the controversy that arose from their particular ideology, Transcendentalism barely made a splash in the 1830 society (Blanch). However, as history has played out, the principles of the philosophical movement have clearly had a direct effect in American revolutions.

As much as the movement is often incorrectly labeled as being against Christian belief systems, Transcendentalism roots reach back again to Christianity through the already liberal Unitarian denomination. In approximately 1835, teenagers training to become Unitarian ministers rebelled against their spiritual elders. They found the belief in Christ's miracles to be outlandish, claiming that his moral teachings were plenty of to make him a prophet (Gura). The men also rejected the blanket theory that human knowledge directly comes from senses; rather, they argued that spiritual principles which come from within one's self consequently lead to a better comprehension of the world.

Due to these first principles, the key ideas of Transcendentalism's "intuition" and "conscience" were quickly embraced. Founders claimed that through these ideas, one can move beyond- or "transcend"- at night dull activities of the lower domain, and on to spiritual bliss. This euphoric state was only permitted through, as named by Ralph Emerson, the Oversoul, which is virtually defined as being a universal force where every soul partakes. Through this Oversoul, one exceeds individual consciousness (Goodman).

At the core, Transcendentalists thoroughly believed in equality, for there was no distinct line between your saved and the damned. It was truly up to the individual whether or not to take benefit of the Oversoul that takes them in to the spiritual world. Because of the key theme of equality, the philosophy seemed perfectly fitted for a nation that claimed to be founded after equivalence (Gura). However, as history has proven, the United States has, in no way, been the perfect picture of social fairness.

Obviously, the transcendental theory conflicted with the antebellum efforts of social reform. The new philosophy deemed that if all, regardless of race and gender, were created equal, then they should be treated therefore. From the start, the movement's ideals have played a solid role in American social progression. Phillip F. Gura states, "For some, such reform activities were the natural outgrowth of Transcendentalist thought, plus they made social reform practically the whole focus of their Transcendentalism. "

Transcendentalism deeply influenced the women right's development (Reuben). This philosophy was one of the first to make the fight for gender equality seem to be somewhat acceptable. It had a strong impact on activist Margret Fuller, who is one of the very most famous feminists in recorded history. She first broke down the occupational inequality barriers when she became the editor at the Transcendental Club newspaper titled, The Dial. Later on, she wrote Women of the Ninetieth Century, which, because of its political radicalness, became the most known feminist book of its era, and drew mass attention to the reason ("Margret Fuller").

Two decades prior to the civil war, this movement had been battling the fight slavery. These philosophers wrote letters, articles, and provided lectures hoping of obtaining the abolition of enslavement. Their acts were controversial and received little attention, but their attempts quickly rallied the concept that perhaps slavery was indeed wrong. Their ideology fanned the flames of the fire that could eventually lead to the Civil War (Hampson). These outspoken women and men would use the transcendental idea of individuality and equality to justify their beliefs.

The Transcendental movement did not only effect gender and racial equality. It was also an innovator for many upcoming changes throughout generations within america society. For example, Bronson Alcott started out the Temple School- the first school made for young children to be able to teach their inborn divinity and encouraged early self-discovery (Gura). Due to these radical teachings, parents of the students forced Alcott to turn off the educational program. However, his teaching assistant, Elizabeth Peabody, another famous feminist, continued to build up the first kindergarten movement within the United States (Blanch).

Other Transcendentalists shifted to more of a political standpoint, and became what, today, we call socialists (Goodman). Former Unitarian pastor George Ripely left the pulpit and started the Institute of Agriculture and Education. Through his educational experiments that involved living in communal existence, he tried to dissolve the definitive lines that lay between personnel and intellectuals. He started dividing the community's profits in to the socialist principles, also making the community members rotate through different jobs.

When hearing of the experiment, Alcott decided to institute a fresh experiment of his own. He and other transcendentalists decided to become vegetarian, and also to quit materialistic aspects (Gura). This chain ultimately affected Henry David Thoreau, a transcendental writer. Thoreau moved into a little cabin located near Walden Pond by himself for two years. He lived purely on the bare necessities you need in order to survive. In this time around frame, Thoreau wrote the novel Walden, in which he spoke of his lifestyle, transcendentalism, and the value of searching spirituality through nature without the burdens of materialistic aspects (Blanch). Lynn Branch describes Thoreau's impact by saying:

Thoreau was also a forerunner of the environmental movement and his publication, Walden, about man's fundamental connection to nature, raised a new consciousness about nature's role in our spiritual and social lives. He championed the idea of public parks and nature reserves as important links to spirituality and lamented the destruction of the forests as the destruction of your earthly paradise when he declared, "Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. "

Ultimately, over time, Walden has sold thousands of copies. The writings became an exceptionally popular book, informing audiences of the philosophy of transcendentalism. Thoreau's novel deeply impacted such times like the fantastic Depression Era, when learning to live simplistically became essential, and the 1960's, which, of course, was the decade of individuality (Blanch).

Transcendentalists were, for too little a much better word, the first form of "hippies. " They stressed the importance of environmental importance, equality, individuality, and spirituality (Gura). Their ideals have greatly impacted america society in many forms, including gender and racial reform, environmental protection, economical viewpoints, and education. Although their movement would, in no way, be looked at the most direct and known historical force in the progression of American society, their underlying beliefs are nearly identical and parallel to the lifestyle that is evident today. The spiritual and individualistic ideology shaped the present day culture that is displayed today.

Works Cited

Gura, Phillip. "Transcendentalism and Social Reform. "gilderlehrman. org. The Gilder Lehrman

Institute of American History, n. d. Web. 18 Feb 2014. <http://www. gilderlehrman. org/history-by-era/first-age-reform/essays/transcendentalism-and-social-reform>.

Goodman, Russell. "Transcendentalism. "plato. stanford. edu. N. p. , 07 Mar 2011. Web. 18 Feb

2014. <http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/transcendentalism/>.

Blanch, Lynn. "Social and Political Ramifications of Transcendentalists. "classroom. synonym. com.

Demand Media, n. d. Web. 18 Feb 2014. <http://classroom. synonym. com/social-political-effects-transcendentalists-12433. html>.

Hampson, Thomas. "The American Renaissance and Transcendentalism. "pbs. org. PBS, n. d.

Web. 18 Feb 2014. <http://www. pbs. org/wnet/ihas/icon/transcend. html>.

"Margaret Fuller. "transcendentalism-legacy. tamu. edu. Psymon, n. d. Web. 18 Feb 2014.

<http://transcendentalism-legacy. tamu. edu/authors/fuller/>.

Reuben, Paul. "Chapter 4: Early Nineteenth Century: American Transcendentalism - The

Women's Rights Impulse. "www. csustan. edu. N. p. . Web. 18 Feb 2014. <http://www. csustan. edu/english/reuben/pal/chap4/seneca_falls. html>.

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