Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay “Nature”.
As one of the most influential thinkers of his time, Emerson’s views on individualism, religion, education, art, and politics all contributed to the formation of Transcendentalism. Emersonian Transcendentalism emphasized subjective understanding and intuition over objective knowledge, seeing divinity as something inherent in every individual rather than existing externally.
This philosophy, which was both highly individualistic and romantic, came to be known as one of the key components of the American Renaissance.
In addition to his work with the Marx Brothers, Harpo appeared in several successful Hollywood films, including A Night at the Opera (1935), Room Service (1938), and GoWest (1940). Harpo retired from show business in 1949 and died of natural causes on September 28, 1964.
|Name||Ralph Waldo Emerson|
|Died||27 April 1882|
|Date of Birth||25 May 1803|
|Height (Approximate)||5 feet 7 inches|
|Weight (Approximate)||175 pounds|
|Figure Measurements (Approximate)||Chest Size – N/A inches Waist Size – N/A inches Hip Size – N/A inches|
|Eye Color||Black eyes|
|Hair Color||Black hair|
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. The young Emerson was raised in a household marked by religious intensity and intellectual achievement.
His father was a man of great learning who had studied at Harvard and Edinburgh; his mother, though less formally educated, was also a woman of keen intellect and strong character.
|Mother||Rev. William Emerson|
|Brother||William, Edward, Robert Bulkeley, and Charles.|
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Wife & Marriage
In 1858, Emerson married Margaret Fuller, a leading figure in the Transcendentalist movement. The couple had one child together, a son named Angelo.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Education & Career
From an early age, Emerson showed signs of unusual talent and ability. He began reading by age four and was already able to recite large sections of the Bible by the time he was eight. At nine, he started attending Boston Latin School, where he would receive an exemplary classical education.
In 1817, Emerson entered Harvard College, where he studied the standard curriculum of the day: Latin, Greek, rhetoric, and philosophy. He was an outstanding student, earning high marks in all his courses. After graduating in 1821, he decided to pursue a career in the ministry, like his father before him. He began studying at Harvard Divinity School the following year.
However, Emerson’s time at Harvard Divinity School was not without its challenges. He found himself questioning many of the traditional religious beliefs that he had been raised with. In particular, he came to see the Bible as a book of myths and legends rather than as literal truth. These doubts eventually led him to abandon his plans for a career in the ministry.
Despite Emerson’s prominence as a thinker, his actual influence on American society was somewhat limited during his lifetime. His thought was not systematized into a coherent philosophy, and he did not find any lasting schools or movements. However, his ideas were widely influential, especially among intellectuals and artists who were looking for new ways to approach the rapidly changing world of the early 19th century. Emerson’s work continued to be important throughout the 20th century, and his essays and lectures have been widely reprinted and anthologized.
In 1829, Emerson was appointed as a minister at the Second Church of Boston. However, he only served in this position for a few months before resigning due to continued doubts about his religious beliefs.
After leaving the ministry, Emerson began to explore other avenues of thought and expression. He became interested in the ideas of Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement that emphasized the individual’s intuition and spiritual experience over authoritative doctrine. Transcendentalism was in part a reaction against the stifling intellectual conformity of early 19th-century America.
In 1836, Emerson published his essay “Nature”, which laid out many of the key principles of Transcendentalism. In this work, he argued that humans could find God, not through reason or the Bible, but through their intuition and spiritual experience.
During the 1840s, Emerson’s career as a writer and thinker began to take off. He published several important essays, including “Self-Reliance” (1841), “The Over-Soul” (1841), and “Circles” (1841). In 1845, he delivered his famous lecture “The American Scholar”, which outlined his vision for a uniquely American form of literature and learning.
In 1847, Emerson published his most famous work, “Nature”. In this book, he argued that humans are part of a larger spiritual force that he called the “Over-Soul”. He also advocated for a close relationship with nature, arguing that it could be a source of inspiration and wisdom.
Emerson’s ideas continued to evolve throughout his life. In the 1850s, he began to focus more on social reform, particularly in the area of abolition. He became an active supporter of the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape to freedom.
In the 1860s, Emerson’s health began to decline. He suffered from several respiratory and digestive problems. In 1866, he had a stroke that partially paralyzed his right side.
Despite his declining health, Emerson remained active as a writer and thinker until he died in 1882. His essays and lectures continue to be read and studied by people all over the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the most important figures in American history. His ideas about individualism, intuition, and nature helped shape the course of American thought and literature. Today, his work continues to inspire people who are looking for new ways to think about the world around them.
|School||Boston Latin School|
|College/ University||Harvard Divinity School|
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Net Worth
At the time of his death, Ralph’s net worth was estimated to be $500k.
|Net Worth (approximately)||$500k|
|Income Source||Essayist, lecturer, and poet|