One of Americas most influential thinkers and
authors was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph Waldo
Emerson was born in Boston on May 25, 1803.
Emerson’s dad died when he was only eight, which
forced his mom to take in boarders to support the
family’s needs. When Emerson was only 14, he
entered Harvard, where he ran became a sort of
secretary for the president of the university.
When he graduated Harvard, at age 18, he became a
teacher. When he got tired or teaching, he
enrolled in the Divinity School, in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, to become a preacher. After his
graduation of the Divinity School, he started his
minister career as a guest speaker at local
churches. Three years after his graduation, he was
appointed minister of the Second Church of Boston.
Because of personal doubts about the Church
doctrine, he felt he could no longer administer
the Lord’s supper, he quit as minister of the
Second Church of Boston.
After Emerson left his
career as a minister, he sailed to Europe, where
he met many prominent European writers. A year
later, he returned back to the United States,
where he settled in Concord Massachusetts. At an
oration at Harvard, he gave one of his most
famous, if not his most famous speech, “The
American Scholar.” “The American Scholar,” was a
speech about being intellectually independent.
Intellectually Independent simply means that
everyone should think for themselves, and not
become a “parrot of other mens thinking.” This
speech was very important in Emerson’s life,
because he was able to mention his theory of
Transcendentalism to an open audience. Emerson’s
most popular written work, was probably “Nature.”
“Nature,” was an essay on the theory of
Transcendentalism, and his personal views of
nature. Although Emerson wrote many famous works,
his main source of income was being a public
speaker. Among the places Emerson spoke were
lyceums, and universities.
Although Emerson mainly
spoke at lyceums, most of his famous speeches,
were the ones he gave while lecturing at
universities. Emerson’s best known essays are:
“The Over-Soul,” “Compensation,” and
“Self-Reliance.” Emerson died on April 27, 1882,
as a result of a small illness, he was buried in
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Bibliography:.