Who are Transcendentalists?
Among the transcendentalists’ core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly religion and politics—corrupted the purity of the individual. They believed that people were at their best when they were self-reliant.
While some Transcendentalists believed that salvation from Jesus Christ was essential for salvation, not all of them did. Over time, this philosophy began to embrace the belief that good people can go to Heaven, if they sincerely believe in any religion that encourages them to be morally upright.
The very word transcendentalism refers to a spirituality that transcends the realm of rationality and the material world. Transcendentalists believed that humans were fundamentally good but corrupted by society and that they should therefore strive for independence and self-reliance.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two of the most famous and influential transcendentalists. Some influential transcendentalists, such as Margaret Fuller, were early pioneers of feminism. The philosophy of transcendentalism originated in Unitarianism, the predominant religious movement in Boston in the early 19th century.
1 : a philosophy that emphasizes the a priori conditions of knowledge and experience or the unknowable character of ultimate reality or that emphasizes the transcendent as the fundamental reality.
Transcendentalism is not a religion per se; it is more like a collection of philosophical and theological thought, an intellectual and a spiritual movement that emphasizes the goodness of nature and the independence of humanity. However, during the 1830s, they became an organized group.
A movement in which people turned to books and rejected the beauty of nature. A period in history in which people rejected notions of love and beauty.
Transcendentalism was a religious, literary, and political movement that evolved from New England Unitarianism in the 1820s and 1830s. They developed literary as well as theological forms of expression, making perhaps a stronger impact on American literary and artistic culture than they did on American religion.
Transcendentalists advocated the idea of a personal knowledge of God, believing that no intermediary was needed for spiritual insight. They embraced idealism, focusing on nature and opposing materialism.
Major figures in the transcendentalist movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Amos Bronson Alcott.