great awakening Essay

Submitted By kayche
Words: 873
Pages: 4


Characteristics of the American Romantic
The Romantics valued feeling and intuition over reason
Shuns cities in favor of nature
Prefers youthful innocence to educated sophistication
Champions individual freedom and the worth of the individual (think Hester)
Looks back to the wisdom of the past and distrust progress (think of The Scarlet Letter)
Finds beauty and truth in exotic locales, the supernatural realm, and the inner world of imagination

Journeys to the City
Rationalists like Franklin traveled to the city to find success and self-realization
Characters participating in the Romantic Journey traveled away from the city
The Romantics saw the city as a place where your morals could be corrupted

The Romantic Journey (for transcendentalists) Journeys to the Country
The Romantics saw the country as a place of moral clarity, independence, and healthful living

The American Romantic Hero
Is young or possesses youthful qualities
Is innocent and pure of purpose
Has a sense of honor based not on society’s rules but on some higher principle
Has an intuitive understanding of people
Loves nature and avoids city life
Quests for some higher truth or value

The human soul is part of the Oversoul to which it and other souls return at death
Everyone shares one big soul
When you die your soul returns to the big soul, no heaven or hell
It’s the soul to all living things, not just humans
The Oversoul is essentially “God”
Death is never to be feared, for at death the soul merely passes to the Oversoul
Why be good if you don’t have to fear hell??
Evil is negative, merely an absence of good. Light is more powerful than darkness because one ray of light penetrates the dark.
Power is gained by defying fate, which works against humans, by exercising one’s own spiritual and moral strength. We must be self-reliant
The miracles of the Bible are not to be considered important. Miracles are all around us. The whole world is a miracle and so is the smallest creature. Whitman says, “A mouse is a miracle enough to stagger quintillions of infidels.”
One must have faith in intuition, for no church or creed can communicate truth
Every individual is to be respected because everyone has a portion of the Oversoul

Founder of Transcendentalism
Emerson lived from 1803-1882
By the time Emerson is born most Puritans have either become Congregationalists (who had no church hierarchy beyond their congregation and chose their own ministers) or Unitarians
American Unitarianism was a Rationalist critique of Puritanism. Unitarians believed in the unity of God. They did not believe in the Holy Spirit or that Jesus was divine (although they followed his teachings). Unitarians believed in the importance of reason, morality, free will, and that humans are basically good
Emerson trained to be a Unitarian minister at Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School in 1829
Within three years of becoming a minister Emerson becomes unhappy with Unitarianism adherence to historically Christian practices like the giving of communion once a month (which Emerson thought to be cannibalistic). Emerson felt that the focus was on the rituals rather than the transcendental truths the rituals should have been about
Emerson didn’t feel that true religion was a set of rules imposed upon man by God. Emerson felt that true religion