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The Great Transcendentalist MovementDuring the late 1800s and early 1900s a new era wasdeveloping in American society The United States was anidealistic nation with separate beliefs and lifestyles Oneof the most intriguing lifestyles introduced during thistime was transcendentalism Many authors such as RalphWaldo Emerson Nathanial Hawthorne Walt Whitman and HenryDavid Thoreau developed this idea and tried to make peopleunderstand the meaning behind this new way of lfe Throughhis extensive writings of books essays and poetry Thoreaugave the American public a deep insight to the new world ofWhile he was growing up Thoreau rarely left his birthtown of Concord He felt that man didnt need widerhorizons in order to write efficiently Hoff 31 He wrotehis private thoughts in journals to help him write lecturesand books and never wrote or spoke about what he himselfhad not experienced Hoff 32 Thoreau attened Harvardbut believed that he had not really learned anything ofworth while thereHoff 34 This is surprising becausemost people think of Thoreau as an intellectual who mostdefinitely had a sound education that he appreciated Thoreau was a skilled naturalist Whitman 802 whowas extremely knowledgable about weather geology flora andfauna He was known to be quite friendly with birds andother such animals He was a self-proclaimed mystictranscendentalist and natural philosopher Whitman 802 The first person to use the word transcendental wasGerman philosopher Immanuel Kant He used the termtranscendental philosophy to describe the study of puremind and its forms The word transcendentalism is definedas the belief or doctrine asserting the existence of anideal spiritual reality that transcends the empirical andscientific and is knowable through intuition Koster 1 It is also known as in philosophy and literature thebelief in a higher reality than that found in senseexperience or in a higher kind of knowledge than thatachieved by human reason Encarta This idea originatedwith the Greek philosopher Plato who had recognized theexistence of absolute righteousness American transcendentalism began with the formation ofthe Transcendental Club in Boston in 1836 The leaders ofthis
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