Transcendentalism was basically the belief that people know more about themselves and the world around them than their senses tell them. Also, that Americans should mimic Europe less and come up with their own new creative ideas. The believers in this philosophy, transcendentalists, thought of it as a way of understanding life around them, not as a religious belief. The biggest people in this movement were joined in the Transcendentalist Club, which was lead by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The transcendentalists movement went on to help spawn abolitionist movements and women's rights movements.
The picture above shows transcendentalism because politicians don't actually say those things and there's no indication that the politician is lying to you. By the definition of transcendentalism, people are aware of things their senses can't tell them, which is exactly what people do when they think a politician is corrupt or lying.
The above picture is relevant because it is a cartoon of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was a leader of the Transcendentalism Club. The quote on the side next to him is something he said and it captures one of the main messages of transcendentalism.
"Transcendentalism cannot be properly understood outside the context of Unitarianism, the dominant religion in Boston during the early nineteenth century. Unitarianism had developed during the late eighteenth century as a branch of the liberal wing of Christianity, which had separated from Orthodox Christianity during the First Great Awakening of the 1740s. That Awakening, along with its successor, revolved around the questions of divine election and original sin, and saw a brief period of revivalism. The Liberals tended to reject both the persistent Orthodox belief in inherent depravity and the emotionalism of the revivalists; on one side stood dogma, on the other stood pernicious "enthusiasm." The Liberals, in a kind of amalgamation of Enlightenment principles with American Christianity, began to stress the value of intellectual reason as the path to divine wisdom. The Unitarians descended as the Boston contingent of this tradition, while making their own unique theological contribution in rejecting the doctrine of divine trinity." -Ian Frederick Finseth
Basically, this says that transcendentalism is only fully understandable if you knowThis is relevant because it's kind of hard understanding transcendentalism and this explains why. There's a religious aspect that was around in the nineteenth century that is absent in present day.
Transcendentalism helped cause lots of important human rights movements. Lots of transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson is a super important person that has to do with the transcendentalists movement. He was leader of that club, as mentioned. Also important was Henry David Thoreau. He was a philosopher.