One of Americas most influential thinkers andauthors was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph WaldoEmerson was born in Boston on May 25, 1803.Emerson’s dad died when he was only eight, whichforced his mom to take in boarders to support thefamily’s needs. When Emerson was only 14, heentered Harvard, where he ran became a sort ofsecretary for the president of the university.When he graduated Harvard, at age 18, he became ateacher. When he got tired or teaching, heenrolled in the Divinity School, in Cambridge,Massachusetts, to become a preacher.
After hisgraduation of the Divinity School, he started hisminister career as a guest speaker at localchurches. Three years after his graduation, he wasappointed minister of the Second Church of Boston.Because of personal doubts about the Churchdoctrine, he felt he could no longer administerthe Lord’s supper, he quit as minister of theSecond Church of Boston.After Emerson left hiscareer as a minister, he sailed to Europe, wherehe met many prominent European writers. A yearlater, he returned back to the United States,where he settled in Concord Massachusetts.
At anoration at Harvard, he gave one of his mostfamous, if not his most famous speech, “TheAmerican Scholar.” “The American Scholar,” was aspeech about being intellectually independent.Intellectually Independent simply means thateveryone should think for themselves, and notbecome a “parrot of other mens thinking.” Thisspeech was very important in Emerson’s life,because he was able to mention his theory ofTranscendentalism to an open audience.
Emerson’smost popular written work, was probably “Nature.””Nature,” was an essay on the theory ofTranscendentalism, and his personal views ofnature. Although Emerson wrote many famous works,his main source of income was being a publicspeaker. Among the places Emerson spoke werelyceums, and universities.Although Emerson mainlyspoke at lyceums, most of his famous speeches,were the ones he gave while lecturing atuniversities. Emerson’s best known essays are:”The Over-Soul,” “Compensation,” and”Self-Reliance.” Emerson died on April 27, 1882,as a result of a small illness, he was buried inSleepy Hollow Cemetery.