Emerson Self Reliance Essay Ii

Emerson Self Reliance Essay Ii-3
Channing’s efforts to re-define Unitarianism and establish the self-culture were simultaneously setting the foundation upon which the Transcendentalist movement would be built (Barna 65).Channing’s message of self-development through moral and intellectual growth was reaching a new generation of participants, including Emerson.

Channing’s efforts to re-define Unitarianism and establish the self-culture were simultaneously setting the foundation upon which the Transcendentalist movement would be built (Barna 65).Channing’s message of self-development through moral and intellectual growth was reaching a new generation of participants, including Emerson.

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In the mid eighteenth century, there arose a desire to reform these Calvinist beliefs in order to create a more positive and liberal view of human nature.

A number of ministers in Boston wished to bring about a fresh New England theology that stressed the ethical and pious behavior of the individual in the self-determination of their own salvation.

This was also the year in which Ralph Waldo Emerson anonymously published his first book, (Versluis 290).

From this point forward, the movement took a turn towards a more broad range of target subjects, including philosophy, theology, politics and literature.

The diversity of the subject matter of their criticism and writing can be attributed to the range of intellectual interests the group shared, as well as their use of sources from the western tradition and from abroad (Capper 683).

It was in this period that Emerson penned his second collection of which was published in 1841. Emerson uses the essay as a vehicle for stressing the importance of the individual’s intellectual and moral development, and for making a defensive statement supporting individualism itself (Belasco 683).

In order to fully understand American Transcendentalism, and Emerson’s place in it, the movement’s origin and evolution must first be explored.

The roots of American Transcendentalism reach back into the eighteenth century.

William Ellery Channing, in 1819, assumed the role of “unofficial spokesperson for American Unitarianism.” His sermons and speeches beseeched his audiences to seek the truth for themselves in scripture, in order to pour their findings and feelings into poetry and passion for their newfound ideals (Barna 64-65).

Channing’s message stressed the fundamental belief that God was innately part of human nature and that this oneness with God would be supported by rational and reasonable interpretation of Biblical scripture (Hutchison 13).

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