Henry David Thoreau And The Industrial Revolution

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“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” once stated Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was not famously recognized while he was living; however, as his work matured, he was noticed more and more as a prominent writer and is now cherished by millions of readers. Thoreau's work reflected his rugged individualism and a life lived close to nature; Thoreau protested America's move from an agrarian society to the Industrial Revolution. He deeply influenced the transcendental movement and was the forefather of the subsequent style of the next generation of writers. People who shared his concerns about the changing world were inspired and valued his work, therefore causing his reputation to flourish. Henry David Thoreau’s early…show more content…
This became a concern to Thoreau and many of his colleagues of the transcendentalist movement because American’s values were changing into a materialistic minded culture. The Industrial Revolution dates back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Previous to the Industrial Revolution, Americans used basic tools or did everything by hand. A shift in powers took place when urbanization, mass production, and factories seemed to be on everybody's minds (Sattelmeyer). Thoreau and others of his group did not follow in America's’ footsteps. They believed that nature could provide everything one needed to survive. Transcendentalism is a branch of the Unitarianism movement, the dominant religion in Boston and other New England cities during this time period (Finseth). The Unitarian church believed in the idea of one God, yet it rejected the miracles of the Bible and the idea of the trinity. Also, they emphasized rational thought over faith; to Unitarians, God could be discovered within an individual. The philosophy caused Emerson to separate from the church, for he found it too “dogmatic” (Olson 20-22). Transcendentalism derives from parts of platonic idealism, German mysticism, French utopianism, and Hindu scriptures. This movement stressed the instinct rather than intellect; “an eclectic faith rather than a sympathetic philosophy”. Transcendentalism rejected organized religion, biblical authority,…show more content…
Along the way, his self-enlightenment and discoveries in the natural world advanced the cause of civil rights, the values of simplicity, and the importance of conservation (Olson 93). During a period of revolution, America endeavored to change from the cultivation of small farms to mass production and an industrial lifestyle. Along with this modification, came a clash of opinions. There were the supporters of Thoreau who believed that nature provided everything man needed to survive, and then there were those who complied with this new change. Without the perturbed supporters, Thoreau would not have been as universally recognized and valued as he is

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