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Ralph Waldo Emerson
May 25, 1803
Rationale: Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Rationale: Emerson is considered the leader of the Transcendentalist movement, which stresses the importance of the individual and nature and the belief of the corruption of societal institutions such as organized religion.
individuality and freedom
Rationale: Emerson’s poems, essays, and lectures center around the individual experience. He believed in man’s ability to realize anything through nature and to seek truth on one’s own, without corrupt influences such as political parties and organized religion.
Rationale: On August 29, 1821 Emerson graduated from Harvard College in the middle of his class. While there, he had served as Class Poet.
September 9, 1836
Rationale: His first essay, ‘Nature’ expressed his philosophy. It is generally viewed as a ground-breaking and influential document that paved the way for the Transcendentalist movement.
as a lecturer
Rationale: In addition to his many poems and essays, Emerson was also known for his influential lectures on Transcendentalism. In fact, many of his well-known essays were originally composed as lectures and later revised them for print.
radical for the time period
Rationale: Emerson’s religious views were considered radical for the time period in which he lived. Because he believed and asserted that God is connected to everything, and thus everything is divine, he was criticized for removing God as the central figure. He also believed that people have the ability to discover truths on their own, therefore things do not have to be revealed to them by God.
Rationale: Since he was young, Emerson was opposed to slavery. By 1838, he gave his first public antislavery speech. By 1844, he had clearly stated his stance in opposition of slavery, though he stressed the importance of peaceful agreement instead of militant action in order to achieve this goal.
April 27, 1882
Rationale: Ralph Waldo Emerson passed away on April 27, 1882 after suffering from pneumonia.
Rationale: Ralph Waldo Emerson is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.
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