Transcendentalism is the idea that both genders have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that "transcends" the reach of the five senses. Transcendentalists accept these ideas as a way of understanding life. They believed in individualism and self reliance, similarly to the basis of democracy. They created an American state of mind where imagination was the best quality. Transcendentalists urged independent thinking and the creation of new ideas. It was a new way of representing truth and knowledge.


Transcendentalism was a long term effect on the rise of Gandhi against British rule in India and Martin Luther King Jr. on civil rights.  Transcendentalism led to a rise in abolitionism, human equality, and women's rights because it taught that every human being possessed potential, regardless of their ethnicity or gender. Transcendentalism also taught that it is ones duty to resist the law if it is against the common good. Thoreau also taught the importance of preserving nature por spiritual and environmental reasons.

The below excerpt shows what Transcendentalism really was and how it changed the minds of the people who were affected. It shows how people began to beleieve in a higher meaning of life.

The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him, truth. It came to him, short-lived actions; it went out from him, immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.Or, I might say, it depends on how far the process had gone, of transmuting life into truth. In proportion to the completeness of the distillation, so will the purity and imperishableness of the product be. But none is quite perfect. As no air-pump can by any means make a perfect vacuum, so neither can any artist entirely exclude the conventional, the local, the perishable from his book, or write a book of pure thought, that shall be as efficient, in all respects, to a remote posterity, as to cotemporaries, or rather to the second age. Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this.Yet hence arises a grave mischief. The sacredness which attaches to the act of creation, — the act of thought, — is transferred to the record. The poet chanting, was felt to be a divine man: henceforth the chant is divine also. The writer was a just and wise spirit: henceforward it is settled, the book is perfect; as love of the hero corrupts into worship of his statue. Instantly, the book becomes noxious: the guide is a tyrant. The sluggish and perverted mind of the multitude, slow to open to the incursions of Reason, having once so opened, having once received this book, stands upon it, and makes an outcry, if it is disparaged. Colleges are built on it. Books are written on it by thinkers, not by Man Thinking; by men of talent, that is, who start wrong, who set out from accepted dogmas, not from their own sight of principles. Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books.Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm. Hence, the book-learned class, who value books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with the world and the soul. Hence, the restorers of readings, the emendators, the bibliomaniacs of all degrees.
-Excerpt from "The American Scholar" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

-Ralph Waldo Emerson was significant because he was the head chief spokesman of transcendentalism. His philosophy were important and characterized by its reliance on intuition as the only way to comprehend reality. In the American Scholar, he preached the philosophy of the oversoul, nature of the universe, stressing self-reliance, individualism, optimism, and freedom. The book helped Americans create their own identity and become nationalistic. Most importantly, it was a great influence on the minds of scholars in education.

-The dial, written by Margaret Fuller, was a major influence on the women's sufferage movement. In the dial Margaret Fuller, called for women's equality in jobs and at home. This was also an influence on the abolitionist movement, as it called for equality.

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