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             Transcendentalism is a literary movement that believes reality only exists in the world of the spirt, and that all knowlige comes from self knowlige. It saw the spiritual as a ideal over the real every day world, and the two people leading the way were Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is a essay about those men and what they contributed to the movement, and exploring the American Characteristics.
             Henry David Thoreau and his friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson helped form the Transcendental movement which, in turn, changed America in the nineteenth century with lasting effects into today"'s society. The Transcendental period in the nineteenth century was truly unique. It is not considered a religion, a philosophy, or a literary theory, although it has elements of all three of those items.
             There were many key figures that made the transcendental movement work, but one of the more important was Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was born in 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau"'s older siblings were both schoolteachers and helped contributed funds to help Henry pay his tuition at Harvard. Henry"'s total expenses at Harvard were about $179 a year. .
             Thoreau lived his life on the bare essentials. He grew his own food including beans, potatoes, peas, and turnips. He also ate wild berries, apples, an occasional fish if he had the opportunity to catch one, and he even cooked a woodchuck that he killed after finding it rummaging through his bean-field. His extremely naturalist personality led him to arrange his time so that he only had to work in small amounts of time and be able to survive on that income so he had more time for to broaden his life through reading, thinking, walking, observing, and writing. Thoreau was a devoted, naturalist. He disciplined himself to observe the natural phenomena.
             Thoreau"'s descriptions and interpretations of nature enriched all of his work; even his essays and lectures on political issues.

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