Transcendentalists Characteristics

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Transcendentalists were writers from the American Romantic Era that held unique beliefs about life and how to live it. They wrote many essays that provided guidelines on how to live a successful life. Most of what they articulated was very out of the ordinary for their time, especially their characteristics. Transcendentalists demonstrated a multitude of characteristics throughout their writing, but the three most obvious were lawlessness, individualism and simplicity. One main characteristic of Transcendentalists was lawlessness. Transcendentalists believed that the law held no power over them. In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau stated that if one feels a law is unjust, it is their duty to break it(Thoreau 393) Breaking a law, however unjust it may seem, is obviously a show of lawlessness. Another example that shows a sense of lawlessness in the writings of Transcendentalists is in Civil Disobedience when Thoreau made it known that he hadn’t payed a poll-tax in six years(Thoreau 395). Even if there was a valid reason for…show more content…
The Transcendentalists believed that everyone was their own person and that conforming to others ruined what it meant to be human. In “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that “Whoso be a man, must be a nonconformist”(Emerson 370). This quote means that the Transcendentalists believed so much in individualism, that they went so far as to say that one is not a man if they conform to society. Another example of individualism is in “Self-Reliance” when Emerson said that to be great one must not follow the societal norms, but instead go their own way. Someone may be misunderstood in life but in the future they could be looked upon as a hero(Emerson 372). The Transcendentalists believed that greatness was not achieved through following others, but that a person must be an individual to “transcend” everyone else. To sum up, Transcendentalists believed in not conforming to
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