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Utopia - Term Paper Example

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Utopia 1. Introduction 2. Ralph Waldo Emerson 3. Henry David Thoreau 4. Brook’s Farm 5. Modern Society 1. Introduction Utopian ideals have existed since human civilization evolved to the point that some members of the society were freed from the subsistence search for food and shelter to sit and think of other possibilities…
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Download file to see previous pages As the definition says, most of these schemes are impractical. John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher and economist created the word “Dystopia” to represent the opposite of Utopia. Dystopian is defined as “an imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.” In September 1836 Frederick Henry Hedge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Ripley and George Putnam formed a club for like-minded thinkers to meet and discuss their ideas. They called the club the “Hedges Club” because most meetings took place at Hedge’s home. It was the citizens of Concord who were not members who named the club the “Transcendental Club. They saw the members as being unworldly, detached from society and inactive. Other members included Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The club was not like the usual club, holding only occasional, informal meetings. It closed after 1840, although the members kept in touch. The Transcendentalists lived in a time of transition in the United States. It was the time between the Revolutionary war, and building toward the Civil War. As the country was moving towards the early 1850’s, America was in the period of the greatest prosperity prior to the Civil War. Several members of the club had very definite ideas of what an ideal society and individual should be, and several of the members tried building their own Utopian ideals, hoping they would be models for the developing new country. 2. Ralph Waldo Emerson Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, educated at Harvard College and taught at his brother’s school for young ladies in Boston after graduating in 1821. He returned to Harvard Divinity School in 1825. In 1829 he was ordained as a minister and married his first wife, Ellen Tucker. For three years he was a Unitarian minister at Boston’s Second Church. He left shortly after the death of his wife, and traveled to Europe, where he met English Transcendentalists Wordsworth, Coleridge, J.S. Mill and Thomas Carlyle. Ralph’s philosophy of life was influenced by his time spent with these men. When he returned to Boston, he began a new career as a lecturer and was very successful. He married Lidian Jackson in 1835, and together they had four children. Emerson relocated his family to Concord Massachusetts. Emerson is considered to be the leader of the Transcendentalist in Concord. His social ideal was a utopia based on private property, where each person could live a simple, solitary life of a farmer or craftsman. Self-reliance should be the goal of all mankind. Ralph believed in the importance of being in touch with nature. He felt that only in solitude was a man free to think freely. A deeply religious man, he left the church because he felt it was no longer relevant to the modern world of his day. He felt that the church had not progressed with man, and that it had become oppressive, deadening the spirit. In his speech to the Divinity School graduates, he asked the graduates to breathe new life into the old forms of their religion. He told them to be friends with, and set good examples for their parishioners. Emerson advised them to listen to their parishioners because each person had their own thoughts, liked to be recognized and their opinions heard. His views were not popular with the church, and he was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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