Transcendentalism, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

2157 Words9 Pages
Re-striking the Balance
In a constantly updating world, eventually cultural diffusion causes changes to a society 's views and practices over a period of time. With many religious pressures in Europe and the constant switch between Catholicism and Protestantism, a group called the Puritans moved to America to start life anew. The Puritan lifestyle took hold of America’s New England colonies and became a theocracy of how people lived their lives. People lived by the Puritan interpretation of the New Testament with harsh forms of punishment for the violation of even the most simple sins. Because of this restricting lifestyle and new ideas like the Enlightenment which caused intellectual reforms, people started to break away from the extreme Puritan philosophy. Another movement occurring in America called Transcendentalism, on the other side of the spectrum of Puritanism, started with writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, specifically with his essay “Nature”. Emerson depicts the prime example of the breaking away from strict religion to Transcendentalism. In America, Emerson was a priest who had been ridiculed and had traveled to Europe to find himself. After meeting up with writers of the Romanticism movement, he fell in love with it and brought it back to America under the name of Transcendentalism. Puritanism and Transcendentalism have opposing philosophies which include their view on people, philosophy and God , and on nature through essays and texts by: William Bradford, Anne
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