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Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 By: Abby Seel and Emerson Walker.

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Presentation on theme: "Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 By: Abby Seel and Emerson Walker."— Presentation transcript:

1 Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 By: Abby Seel and Emerson Walker

2 Biography Born in Concord, Massachusetts on July 12, 1817 Harvard University in 1837 Quit his teaching job after a few weeks to work with his father, a pencil-maker, then resumed teaching in 1838 1840 he began his writing career 1845 he built a cabin at Walden Pond Wrote Walden, published in 1854 Died in Concord, Massachusetts 1862

3 Transcendentalism American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early 19 th century, centered on Ralph Waldo Emerson. It first arose among the liberal New England Congregationalists. Transcendentalists were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking society. It urged the people to find an "original relation to the universe" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Thoreau was a major figure of this movement; he believed that all people, men and women equally, have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that "transcends" or goes beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch or feel.

4 A Movement that Transformed America Members of this movement provided intellectual and moral leadership for many social transformations: the abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, freedom of religious thought and practice, educational reform and more. The influence of their ideas continues today (efforts to preserve large tracts of wild nature to civil disobedience around the world.)

5 Quotes by Thoreau "Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.“ "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.“ "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

6 Contributions Walden; or, Life in the Woods (Boston 1854); describes his experience living at Walden Pond. Civil Disobedience essay (4 years after his death): Comparison of government to a machine: when government acts unjust, it is the job of the citizens to resist. It was an attempt to persuade readers to oppose unjust government policies, the Mexican War, and particularly the institution of slavery. 2 unjust acts: institution of slavery and the prosecution of the Mexican War (April 1846-February 1848). A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. (1849)

7 Contributions Civil Disobedience Essay: Express opposition through acts of civil disobedience; refusing to pay taxes. (b/c he knew money would help fund the war). While writing A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, he affected the American perception by retiring in his house in Walden Pond, he conducted an economic experiment in which he lived by working one day and devoting the six others to Transcendentalist concerns. This reversed the Yankee habit of working six days and resting one.

8 Contributions Of his works, Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience has had the greatest influence on defenders of human rights throughout the world. Mohandas Gandhi used tactics introduced by Thoreau to lead a successful campaign of passive resistance in South Africa (1896-1914) to obtain civil rights for immigrants from India. Influenced Martin Luther King Jr., in his successful nonviolent campaign in the 1960's to achieve civil rights for black Americans. In his autobiography, King wrote, “No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea [passive resistance to injustice] across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest."

9 Bibliography Thoreau, Henry D. "Excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau." Walden. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1854. North Carolina State Board of Education. Web.. Thoreau, Henry D. Civil Disobedience. 1866. Smithsonian Institution, 2007. Web.. Cummings, Michael J. "Civil Disobedience." 2005. Web.. SEP. "Henry David Thoreau." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 30 June 2005. Web.. American Transcendentalism Web. "Henry David Thoreau." Virginia Commonwealth University. Web..

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