Transcendentalism and its Effect on 20th Century Civil Right

Transcendentalism and its Effect on 20th Century Civil Rights Movements

Transcendentalism and its Effect on 20th Century Civil Rights Movements

The literary ideals embodied in the Transcendentalism movement embrace the principles of individualism, nonconformity, idealized youth, and cultural revolution, brought on by works from such authors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. Emerson preached to the young, Thoreau dropped out of society with his Walden experiment, foreshadowing elements of the civil rights movement with "civil disobedience , and Whitman faced scorn and censorship for his now-revered "Leaves of Grass . These ideas form the basis for the 20th century's civil rights movements and "hippie  movements of the sixties.

On the surface there appears to be a connection between transcendentalist and the hippies from the sixties. They had in common a rebellion against the society and the culture they depended on. They will not accept to live on anything but the authentic level, or live on the bare necessities. Emerson's "Self-Reliance  promoted self-reliance and, states, "imitation is suicide , which Emerson uses to encourage originality. (1160) He emphasizes the need to find oneself, and that everyone was meant to find his or her own path in life. Hippies used this philosophy to rationalize and justify their movement towards free love and peace. They used drugs and sex to explore their minds and try to "understand themselves  and fight the social injustices of the government. Like Emerson, many hippies were educated and truly believed in their struggle to fight the system and promote free spirit. In achieving such goals, they felt this prevented them from becoming corporate "zombies . For all the protests and discontent, both betray and inner love and joy, and worship beauty. The more

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