Nineteenth century American author, the "Sage of Concord"
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  • FreedomPedia
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 May 25 - 27 April 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.


    Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882), by Roderick T. Long, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Ralph Waldo Emerson, a Massachusetts native, was one of the founders of Transcendentalism, a philosophical, literary, and cultural movement that stressed spiritual oneness with nature, reliance on inner experience, and rejection of social conformity. ... Emerson insisted that a human life should be guided more by inner development than by traditions, institutions, or social expectations. ... Emerson long opposed slavery, the mistreatment of American Indians, and the denial of the suffrage to women, yet he disliked political involvement and felt that social reform must begin with the reform of the individual."


    25 May 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts


    27 Apr 1882, in Concord, Massachusetts


    Henry David Thoreau: Founding Father of American Libertarian Thought, by Jeff Riggenbach, 15 Jul 2010
    Biographical essay, transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast
    "Emerson had moved to Concord from Boston in 1834, when Thoreau was at Harvard. Virtually from the moment they first met in 1837, Emerson took a strong interest in the younger man, encouraging his writing, helping to arrange opportunities for publication, generally serving as a teacher and mentor. ... Yet where had Thoreau picked up such radical ideas in the first place? Wasn't it, at least in part, from Emerson himself? It was Emerson, after all, who wrote in 1833, when Thoreau was a teenage student at Harvard, that 'a man contains all that is needful to his government within himself.'"
    Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Mar 2005
    After some background and biographical material, describes the event (Thoreau's imprisonment) that led to writing "Civil Disobedience" and Thoreau's reaction to those who paid the tax on his behalf, his jailers, his neighbors and Ralph Waldo Emerson
    "During the early 19th century, New England was the center of an intellectual movement called Transcendentalism. In 1834, while Thoreau was a student at Harvard, the leading Transcendentalist moved into a substantial house at the outskirts of Concord, thus converting the village into the heart of this influential movement. That man was Emerson."
    Related Topic: Henry David Thoreau
    Ralph Waldo Emerson - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Includes excerpt from "Self-Reliance"
    The Life of Benjamin R. Tucker: Disclosed by Himself In the Principality of Monaco At the age of 74
    Transcribed by Wendy McElroy from Tucker's manuscript; covers mostly the period from his birth to his late teens
    "Most notable, however, among these New Bedford platform memories was my hearing, not at the Lyceum, but in the Unitarian Chapel, of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He alone among those mentioned was a real world figure, transcending his generation; and, moreover, a specifically Anarchistic force, though, at the moment, my own thought was not sufficiently developed to appreciate this. Later, one of his sayings became one of my watchwords: 'It can never make any difference to a hero what the laws are.'"

    The introductory paragraph uses material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.