William Cullen Bryant was considered as a major voice of American Romanticism who would greatly influence the Transcendental Movement. Bryant composed his perspectives to fulfill his duties as expressing elements of American Romanticism and Transcendentalism. American "Romanticism is crucial to American culture to the extent that the very creation of the United States has been considered an expression of romantic thought" (Matterson1). Bryant incorporated another element otherwise known as Transcendentalism which expresses an idea that a higher power, men, and nature are all linked to and in order to get to the higher power one must surround oneself with nature. Bryant used these elements throughout his works of poetry. .
Although some authors possessed both elements, Bryant views appear to be different from other authors during this era. Bryant unlike others was not able to fulfill his passion for the path of a writer. "Bryant would have liked to support himself as a poet, but this was impossible at the time, so in 1816 he opened a law partnership; he worked as a lawyer into the mid-1820s" (122). In addition, Bryant writes solely to express his theme of death in Thanatopsis as being in an optimistic tone to help the reader avoid the fear of death. Furthermore, he explains that death is a common part of nature's cycle and reflects on the positive aspects of death. Bryant also expresses his positive encounters of life providing readers a life lesson in his poem, To a Waterfowl that even though one might not be able to fulfill the desires of his/her passion, as difficult it may seems, life goes on. Another saying that he is trying to convey to the reader is "Life is now that the world brings, but what people brings into the world.".
When reading Bryant's poetry, one could tell he kept his political ideals separate from his legal career. Like a Transcendentalist, he wrote poetry linked to the nature of life and the beauty of nature with To a Waterfowl.