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Comparing Emerson And Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience

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Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were both born in Massachusetts in the early 19th century. Emerson was born in Boston in 1803 and Thoreau was born in Concord in 1817. Both are writers and proponents of Transcendentalism--the belief that man, by studying nature and examining self, can transcend his humanity and become one with God. Both used literary devices in their works (essays), metaphors and have similar themes. Both Thoreau and Emerson used the theme: trust yourself, know yourself, be yourself; slow down and "simplify, simplify, simplify"; examine nature to find truths about yourself; human ingenuity will always show itself; trust self before government; man is inherently good. These two men believe that nature is what forces us not to depend on others' ideas but to develop our own. Nature is ever changing so we must keep searching for explanations about human life. They feel that nature is the key to knowing all. In Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, social responsibility is important. Similar to “Self-Reliance”, Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” shares the same philosophical ideas. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self Reliance” and Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Resistance to Civil Government (“Civil Disobedience”), both transcendentalist thinkers speak about being individual and what reforms and changes need to be made in our society Social responsibility is often encouraged and is used to …show more content…
Both essays are also relevant in modern society because they discourage conformity. People often get

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