The Transcendentalist Movement essay sample

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The Transcendentalist Movement

Russel Goodman (2015) defines transcendentalism is defined as movement in political, literary and philosophical areas of the nineteenth century that is focused on Ralph Waldo Emerson. The other persons made dealt to this movement are Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Theodor Parker and Frederic Henry Hedge. The issue is whether Transcendentalist writers such as Emerson and Thoreau more concerned with pre-industrial revolution nostalgia or there were an earliest version of neo-classical liberals advocating values of individualism, limited government and self-sufficiency. In order to clarify issues hereinabove, the ideas of this movement should be considered.

The Transcendentalists were dissatisfied with the policy of the US. To illustrate, Transcendentalists objected slavery and confrontation with Mexico. Emerson deemed the supporting of slavery by the government as a criminal action. Thoreau in his “Resistance of Civil Government” (1849) stated about distinction between law and morality. As to his views, being opposite to immoral legislation is an obligation of citizens. As we can observe, this movement of early nineteenth century was a critique of the government policy.The ideologists of the Transcendentalism movement proposed an alternative to the policy of the state government. To illustrate, the Transcendentalism may be considered not only as opposition to the government, but also as a philosophy of humanism. Rights of individuals were deemed as the center of the universe. The respectable attitude to human rights and freedoms was promoted. The views of Transcendentalists considered extension of industrialization as dehumanization of the society. Instead of formalism, the Transcendentalists proposed perception from senses.

To make a conclusion from this set of materials, the ideas of Transcendentalists were the early version of neoclassical liberalism. They objected actions of the authority proposing new values to follow in the state policy. The Transcendentalists emphasized central role of human rights in the state policy. These features give us an opportunity to view them as precursors of ideologists of neoclassical liberalism.

Works Cited

Goodman, Russell. Transcendentalism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved 5 October 2015 from

What Is Transcendentalism? Reasons for the Rise of the Movement. CliffsNotes. 2015. Retrieved 5 October from Download Full Essay Show full preview


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