The transcendentalism is a literary, spiritual, cultural, and philosophical movement emerged in the United States, in New England in the first half of the XIXth century. One of the fundamental beliefs of transcendentalists was the inherent goodness of humans and nature. They also believed that society and its institutions – particularly religious institutions and political parties – corrupt the purity of the human and a real community could be made only from autonomous and independent individuals.
In the transcendentalism research paper you can find that the movement began with the creation of the Transcendental Club in Cambridge (Massachusetts) the 8 September 1836 by some known scholars, including Frederick Henry Hedge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and George Putnam. The opening of this club intervened in response to the general state of culture and society of the time, especially as a protest against the majority position of the Harvard intellectuals and against the doctrine of the Unitarian Church taught in the Faculty of Theology at Harvard.
The transcendentalist movement is rooted in the doctrine transcendental by Immanuel Kant, and more generally in the idealism German, which were adopted as alternatives to empiricism and sensationalism of Locke particularly advocated by the Unitarian Church. The transcendentalists wanted to base their religion and their philosophy on the transcendental principles, based on the mental and spiritual essence of being without depending upon change in the experience of sensations.
According to Kant, all knowledge is transcendental if it depends not on objects but on the way we apprehend objects. The transcendentalists knew very little of German philosophy and relied on this issue, second hand, on the work and writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, Madame de Stael, or Victor Cousin. But then they were very familiar with romantic English and we can consider under the title of the Transcendentalist movement a late American Romanticism.
Finally, we must mention the influence of mystical spiritualism ‘of Emmanuel Swedenborg.
The publication in 1836 of the essay Nature by Emerson, is usually considered a landmark from which the transcendentalist movement became a major cultural movement. The essay concludes with a call for a revolution in human consciousness from the new idealist philosophy.
Orestes Brownson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, and Bronson Alcott are the other major figures of American transcendentalism. The essay by Emerson titled “Friendship,” which is the sixth essay of the First Series, published in 1841, gives Emerson’s conception of friendship, as he wanted her structure the transcendentalist circle. In this essay, he notes the need not to see friends too much in person, but to maintain correspondence with them, so that the best part of their person (intelligence) be able express themselves, and accidental part of the person (their human weaknesses) to fade.
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