Essay on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Self-reliant Person

Submitted By Tina-Louzon
Words: 538
Pages: 3

Tina Louzon
Essay #2
7 November 2014
The Self Reliant Individual In Emerson’s description of the importance of self-reliance, to my understanding, being an individual who trusts in ones self is a prominent factor. Emerson explains to the reader that the key to being a self-reliant individual is to believe in your own opinions, to not let others define your thoughts, and to not let the outside world determine your personal value and worth. As quoted from the first paragraph in “Self-Reliance,” Emerson states,” to believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men, -- that is genius” (Emerson 1163). If Emerson had to acknowledge any one man for his success in being a self-reliant person, I believe he would easily recognize Thomas Jefferson. In Jefferson’s “Autobiography,” he goes into meticulous detail of his studies and his thirst for learning. He became one of the worlds most leading intellectuals and of the most influential men for many generations. In terms of being self-reliant, I believe Jefferson is a very desirable candidate because he was introducing ideas and propositions that people were not familiar with, nor unopposed to. For example, Jefferson was one of the first individuals to propose a free public education, and it took him two times to make it happen. If he was not a self-reliant person, he would have stood down and let society take control over the situation, yet he stood up and fought for what he believed in. I believe this quote from Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia,” is a very good depiction of how he stands: "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree" (Jefferson 1686). Another individual I believe would get admiration from Emerson would be Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is the epitome of self-reliant, if I do say so myself. One of the first…