Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism

  1. 1. How does moral conscience lead to civil disobedience?
  2. 2. What does it mean?   Ralph Waldo Emerson (writer) came up with the idea.  Henry David Thoreau (Emerson’s student)  They both believed that people are born with an inner sense that helped them to recognize moral truth. (The difference between good and evil)  This moral sense “transcended”, or in others words, went beyond our experiences.
  3. 3. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. -- Henry David Thoreau
  4. 4. Moral Conscience   Transcendentalists were individualists.  They refused to follow laws they felt were unjust and morally wrong.  Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi both adopted Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience.
  5. 5. Civil Disobedience   Thoreau spent the night in jail for failing to pay his taxes. He did this to protest against a government that enforced slavery and which he felt had wrongly gone to war with Mexico.  He wrote an essay called “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”, in which he spoke about our responsibility to reject slavery and other “unjust” laws of the government.
  6. 6. “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” Henry David Thoreau  “ I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.” What is Thoreau saying in this paragraph? What argument does Thoreau give to justify not paying his taxes
  7. 7. What would be an act of civil disobedience during the 1850’s, in America? (Think of some of the reform movements) What is Transcendentalism? Who was Thoreau? How is Civil Disobedience connected to Moral Conscience? Summary: 

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