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Ralph Waldo Emerson and the flower children

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  1. Introduction
    1. The parallels between Emerson and the flower children
    2. Comparing a person to a movement
  2. Rejection of the forefathers
    1. The greatest similarity between Emerson and the bohemians
    2. A demand for freedom
  3. The emphasis on nature
    1. Emerson: A fanatical fan of the natural world
    2. The hippie praise of nature
  4. The unity of mankind
  5. Conclusion: What does this mean?
  6. Bibliography

It is 1836 and a pioneering new essayist has just made his debut. His first work is entitled ?Nature,? a simple and concise name for an elaborate and layered piece. It is a bizarre article, one which lionizes the natural earth and calls on the younger generations to break away from their forefathers and to formulate their own ideals and beliefs. In a conservative culture, this radical author, who publishes his work anonymously at first, creates quite a stir, enough that even Walt Whitman admits ?he brought me to a boil.? His name is Ralph Waldo Emerson. This literary giant from Harvard University is a proponent of a movement known as transcendentalism, a system of beliefs which hails the beauty of nature and extols the divine presence which is made manifest through the earth. Emerson promotes self-reliance, civil disobedience, and a wholehearted admiration of the natural word, rapidly recruiting other great minds such as his contemporary Henry David Thoreau.

[...] This overemphasized sense of balance in society will result in only revolution and radical ideas, as Emerson and the flower children exemplify. The Emphasis on Nature ?Nature never wears a mean appearance.? Emerson was truly a fanatical fan of the natural world. the woods,? he claimed, find reason and faith.?1 This idealized look at nature is one which carries pretty heavily into the Hippy Culture. With emphasis being put on movement to the suburbs and life in the city, the natural world was being increasingly forgotten in the 1960's. [...]


[...] 1 Courtesy of Google Images The Beatles with their Indian Guru 2 Ralph Waldo Emerson 3 Hippies outdoors at a music festival Bibliography 1Emerson, Ralph W. "Nature." The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ed. Atkinson Brooks. New York: The Modern Library 2Dylan, Bob. "Blowin' in the Wind." By Bob Dylan. Rec The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Columbia Records. 3Simon and Garfunkel. "America." By Paul Simon. Rec Bookends. Columbia Records. 4Didion, Joan. Slouching Towards Bethlehem. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux [...]


[...] In other words, the hippie concept of love for all was hardly revolutionary, as Ralph Waldo Emerson had preached it years earlier. The belief in the love of mankind and the unity of the people led both Emerson and the hippies to act for the rights of African-Americans. For Emerson, this meant becoming an advocate for the freedom of slaves and the abolition of the slave system. For the hippies, this meant marching for civil rights like voting and the abolition of the Jim Crowe laws for their African American brothers. [...]

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